A Poppins preview
WORTHINGTON -- You won't need a spoonful of sugar to swallow the Worthington High School (WHS) Trojan band's new parade show; the Mary Poppins-themed "Over the Rooftops" is sure to provide a fulfilling dose of entertainment without added sweetener.
Local music enthusiasts can get their first taste of the band's inventive efforts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday with a performance on Clary Street between Church and Marine avenues, directly in front of WHS. The public is welcome to view from surrounding sidewalks, or from the WHS property.
"People can't help but get involved in the show as the band passes by," said Jon Loy, director of the WHS band and the mastermind behind the 2012 parade sequence. "There are rotating rooftops with chimneys from which kites emerge, flower boxes hold cymbals, flags are stashed in the chimneys -- it's a visual piece and a real spectacle.
"There are so many visual opportunities with a 'Mary Poppins' show."
Of course, 120 band members moving in sync down the street -- and the music they make -- are the spectacle's focus. The ensemble's numbers are the highest Loy has seen since taking the WHS band helm in 2006.
"We're using our entire inventory of uniforms," he said.
Loy's excitement about "Over the Rooftops" is evident; after all, he's had the show in his head for four years, and he says it's "amazing" to see his students bring the vision to life.
"Woodwind players dance with chimney sweeps, some of the brass musicians perch atop set pieces -- the show has multiple levels, besides great music, and there's a lot that happens in just over four minutes," Loy said. "It's very entertaining in many ways."
The ninth- through 12th-grade band students learned the music and parade show choreography from start to finish in three weeks of band camp, which began May 29 and has run weekdays since then from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
"The students have really applied themselves in the time we had, and they have enjoyed the experience of getting this new show up and running," Loy said. "I told the kids today that it's very moving to see a show go from a thought to design to execution to a final product. And I've heard the kids say the daily progress they see motivates them to achieve even more."
Two summer parades are on the schedule for the WHS band. It debuts the show at 6 p.m. Friday in Lake Crystal's "Battle of the Bands," and on Saturday evening marches in the Fulda Wood Duck Festival parade.
"This gives the students a chance to share the fruits of their labor with area audiences before we put the show to bed until the first day of school," Loy said.
Fall brings a full lineup of parades and appearances for the Trojan band, beginning with the WHS Homecoming football game Sept. 14, the King Turkey Day parade Sept. 15 and the Tri-State Band Festival in Luverne Sept. 29.
"We're also going to the Waseca Marching Classic on Sept. 22, the Festival of Bands in Sioux Falls on Oct. 6, the River City Band Festival in Chamberlain on Oct. 13 and the Anoka Halloween Parade on Oct. 27," Loy said.
Loy's marching Trojans enjoyed great success in the past two years with their "Phantom of the Opera" show, having received several first place and grand champion parade honors and successfully marched in the 2011 McDonald's Thanksgiving Day parade in Chicago, Ill.
"We have some of the same band staff helping this year -- Matt Tims wrote our drumline book, Bryan Brandt hauls our trailer and Judie Johnson designed the set pieces," Loy said.
"Judie Johnson has so many creative ideas with scenic design, and parent Dale Solt constructed the set pieces so well they could survive an earthquake," he added.
Spectators familiar with Disney's "Mary Poppins" movie will recognize the music, which was arranged by Sioux Falls, S.D., composer/arranger Jeremy Hegg and features tunes including "Feed the Birds," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Step in Time" and "Let's Go Fly a Kite."
"I'm excited to do this at Waseca," Loy said. "That's been a great band festival for us, and we'll learn a lot about how the show is received in our first competition at Lake Crystal."
Because of the band's size and the show's scope, Loy has four student band commanders this year --seniors Tim Skog, Dillon Pedersen and Logan Waldner, plus junior Jaren Solt.
WHS alumni involved in the Trojan band production include drumline assistant Deann Naab, color guard assistant Amanda Reif, props and set assistant Axel Wass and band historian Lisa Schutte.
Loy and his band students hope "Over the Rooftops" will be a hit with parade-goers, and they invite the support of Worthington residents as they demonstrate the show publicly for the first time at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
"We've worked very hard on detail, and it's great for 120 people to all strive for a common goal -- and to have fun doing it." Loy said.