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Musical night on tap at WHS Friday

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe The Worthington Middle School Band, under the direction of Michael Andersen, rehearses for their upcoming concert.1 / 2
Ryan mcgaughey/daily globe "Spirit of Worthington" Trojan marching band commanders Claire Bents (from left), Parker Sandhurst and Tim Skog hold championship trophies from fall band competitions Monday afternoon on the Worthington High School campus.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- After netting its fourth parade grand championship of the season at the Anoka Halloween Parade this past Saturday, the "Spirit of Worthington" Trojan marching band returns home to join with District 518's fifth- through eighth-grade band students in the annual Indoor Marching Band Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Worthington High School (WHS) gymnasium.

"This is simply unprecedented in the history of the WHS band," said Jon Loy, WHS band director, of the band's season winning streak. "The kids did really well, successfully defending their title at Anoka in repeating as Class A parade champions.

"They also brought home trophies for overall parade grand champion, outstanding color guard and outstanding winds, so this is a pretty big deal."

Appropriately, Loy has chosen "Championship" as the concert's theme.

"Having had the honor to win several parade grand championships this year -- at the 61st annual Tri-State Band Festival, at the 24th annual Sioux Falls Festival of Bands USA, at the River City Band Festival in Chamberlain, S.D., and now again at Anoka -- we wanted to highlight that," Loy said, whose students will reprise their "Phantom of the Opera" parade show, as well as offer drum line and color guard features during the evening.

Mike Andersen, leader of the Worthington Middle School (WMS) sixth- through eighth-grade bands for the past decade, will build on the idea with his 145 band students performing two "super hero" theme songs -- the Raiders March and the Batman theme song.

"It's the theme from the Danny Elfman version of 'Batman,' which is way more hip than the campy one many parents likely remember," Andersen said. "This is the culmination of the first quarter for us, and this has been a fun concert in the past, so I'm trying to get the kids to play well.

"They've been very productive so far, and they are producing a really good, big sound."

Jeanette Jenson, the WMS fifth-grade band instructor, will present her current group of 70 fifth-grade beginning band students for their concert debut.

"They are eager to perform, and this is a group with a lot of potential," assured Jenson, who has successfully and patiently trained District 518 band students for the past 16 years.

"Many of these kids have also been in orchestra, so they have caught on to new musical concepts quickly," Jenson added. "They are playing, in some instances, full band arrangements.

"Harmony is happening, and they are starting to recognize and put dynamics into practice, which is not easy when you are just learning to play an instrument."

Jenson started about 60 of the fifth-graders on their instruments during two weeks of band lessons last June. At the same time, Loy was leading his senior high students through their paces in preparation for a summer marching band season that included first-place finishes at the Windom and Fulda parades in June, followed by a Sept. 4 appearance at the Minnesota State Fair.

"Having our camp right away in June was really helpful, making it easier to tweak things and help us become more competitive for the fall," Loy said.

"We are grateful to the community for its support each year," he continued. "We hope Worthington is proud of its Trojan band, as our students -- led by 2011 band commanders Parker Sandhurst, Claire Bents and Tim Skog -- take their role as community ambassadors seriously and are really thrilled to be bringing home such solid evidence of their hard work."

Preceding the Friday evening concert is a waffle feed in the WHS cafeteria beginning at 4:30 p.m., as well as a silent auction; proceeds from the waffle feed and silent auction will benefit the WHS band, which is traveling to Chicago, Ill., to perform at the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day parade, as they did under Loy's leadership in 2008.

"The money earned Friday night will help feed the band in Chicago," noted Loy, adding that it takes a lot of money to feed 116 hungry teenagers for three days. "Each section of the band has creative items to bid on, and this has been a successful fundraiser for us in the past."

Other features at the Friday concert include recognition of the seniors in the WHS band, announcement of the 2012 student band commanders and parade season, and presentation of banners made by the Trojan Textiles class to the WMS bands.

"The WMS bands are our feeder programs, and we want to thank them and acknowledge their efforts," Loy said.

Confirmed Jenson, "There are over 200 kids currently involved in band at WMS, and I am particularly excited for the fifth-graders to play so their families can hear how far they've come in the past few months.

"The kids are excited, the teachers are supportive, and it's been a great year so far."

The WHS "Spirit of Worthington" Trojan marching band performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the WHS gymnasium, along with the Worthington Middle School fifth- through eighth-grade band students. There is a fee, and District 518 activity passes are honored. Dad's Belgian Waffles serves all-you-can-eat waffles from 4:30 to 6:45 p.m. in the WHS cafeteria; tickets may be purchased at the door.