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Marching to Minneapolis

District 518

WORTHINGTON -- As creative as these local students may be off the field, marching to the beat of their own drummer won't score them too many points at this weekend's competition.

Six Worthington High School students are among 40 marching band members from Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota who will compete in a march-off Saturday during the 2010 Drum Corps International Tour stop in Minneapolis.

The first-ever event will feature 24 World-, Open- and All-Class corps that start performing at 2 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium. The march-off is during intermission.

The students qualified while attending a marching band camp in Aberdeen, S.D., earlier this month, explained Todd Dufault, a clinician at the camp and founder of the Todd Dufault Marching Academy.

The contest involves strictly marching for participants, who don't carry their instruments but must follow the commander's instructions exactly.

"They'll be marching in front of about 10,000 people," Dufault explained. "The kids will respond to my commands, and if anybody makes a mistake they are taken out of the block. You increase the tempo as you go, which makes the response time a little more difficult. ... It's lots of fun and the intensity and energy builds as you try to get down to one person."

The last competitor standing -- or marching, rather -- wins a DVD of the 2009 Drum Corps International World Championships.

"The best way to describe drum corps versus high school marching band is it's like the NBA of basketball; it's the highest level of marching band," Dufault said. "This is the first time in drum corps history that all of the corps are in Minnesota at one time. It'll be neat for the Worthington kids to be on the field and be able to experience that opportunity."

WHS band member Claire Bents said it will be her first chance to watch DCI live, though she has seen recorded performances.

"They have amazing themes and they pulled it off so flawlessly," she said.

The junior clarinet player is looking forward to the opportunity to perform alongside such polished performers

"I'm really excited about it," she gushed. "(Dufault) is very motivational. It'll be great to work with him some more."

As for the competition, she said there isn't much strategy involved: "It's just doing what you're told," she laughed. "You just have to make sure you're able to pay attention to the detail, because a lot of the commands sound alike."

Other WHS students performing are Brandon Berger, Parker Sandhurst, Kayli Kuhl, Brianna Darling and Emma Jirele.

"It's a real treat for me to work with the Worthington kids" and WHS band director Jon Loy, Dufault said. "They're not only kids who want to be their best, but they're just great people. They're at the top of my list as far as quality people to work with."

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