WHS band's ‘We the People’ has preview premiere Thursday


“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” – Preamble to the U.S. Constitution

WORTHINGTON — With two weeks of all-day band camp as preparation, the “Spirit of Worthington” Trojan marching band will preview its brand new “We the People” parade show at 6 p.m. Thursday on Clary Street in front of Worthington High School (WHS).

Appropriately for Flag Day, the show’s patriotic theme features excerpts from the well-known tunes “This is My Country,” “National Emblem March” and “The Stars & Stripes Forever,” along with portions of each military service branch’s musical theme.

“All of our music this year is very well known, and it’s great for young people to present a message of hope, volunteerism and a desire to serve our country,” said WHS band director Jon Loy.

“The timing is right.”

Loy began envisioning this parade show about 18 months ago, even as he was in the midst of preparing his musical troops for a trip to Los Angeles, Calif., for their November 2017 appearance in the Hollywood Christmas parade.

‘“We the People’ will take the spectators on a musical journey and offer a brief history lesson as to how America has been shaped up to this point, and how we can all rise to assist in sustaining our country for the future,” said Loy.

“It’s also helped the students consider more about what it means to be American, and we are celebrating the points of light in the form of people who give back to their country and want to make a positive difference.”

To that end, the diverse 160-member band will process into its parade performance zones with recordings of famous speeches of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy leading the way (think, “I have a dream” and “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”).

A reversible, 25-by-15-foot flag carried by students dressed as iconic American figures (Abraham Lincoln, Betsy Ross and Elvis, to name only a few) is poised to accompany the instrumentalists, with images of the bald eagle and the U.S. flag on one side and Lady Liberty and the Constitution itself on the other.

Additionally, the ensemble will intersperse its musical segments with spoken words accenting the Constitution’s message, such as “Perfect union,” “Establish justice” and “Domestic tranquility.”

“This has been a terrific educational tool for the students, and they are really learning the preamble,” said Loy. “The show runs four minutes and 30 seconds within the judges’ zone, and a lot happens in that amount of time.”

Loy credits the team of professionals with whom he’s worked over several years (Jon Wendt, Brent Turner, Todd Dufault, composer/arranger Jeremy Hegg, drum book writer Matt Tims and set designer Judie Wendt Johnson) for their part in bringing to life his parade visions, including this latest show.

He’s also appreciative of coordinators Brett Kroeger (drum line), Jennifer Scholtes (color guard) and Zach Brandt (front line) for their roles.

“These people, and others on our band staff, are key players for instructional success with the kids,” credited Loy. “It’s definitely a team effort.

“And we have SO many parent volunteers who help make this organization run smoothly and allow the kids to focus on what they’ve come to do at each competition: perform and represent our community with pride.”

Student band commanders are seniors Davis Moore, Christipher Lee, Sean Souksavath and Tad Stewart. Their leadership is supplemented with the support of section leaders among the brass, woodwinds, drum line and color guard.

“It’s the work of the commanders and section leaders that has brought us to where we are now; they’ve been preparing for this since early May,” said Loy.

“And we’ve folded in over three dozen new freshmen these past two weeks — plus we have a nearly new props crew — but everyone is responding with a wonderful work ethic and unselfish attitudes.

“It’s been a busy two weeks of music and drill, marching, and performance techniques as they learn to create the ‘We the People’ vision on the street.”

Following Thursday evening’s parent preview, which kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with a WAMBO-sponsored fundraiser barbecue meal served directly in front of WHS, the Trojan band travels on Friday to the highly competitive Lake Crystal “Battle of the Bands,” a 15-year parade tradition with a 6 p.m. start time.

“In our class, we compete against Henry Sibley High School, Dassel-Cokato and Sartell,” listed Loy. “Each band, really, is our competition at that parade.”

A final chance for area marching band supporters to see the Trojans perform this summer is at Saturday’s Fulda Wood Duck Festival Parade.

Loy has an ambitious parade schedule in place for the fall, beginning with the Trojans’ appearance at the National Legion Parade on Aug. 26 (as part of the 100th national convention of the American Legion) on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.

“Bands from all across the country are expected to be participating,” said Loy, noting that by then, the WHS color guard’s new uniforms and flag silks will be in play.

The Trojans will be featured in the King Turkey Day Parade on Sept. 15, of course, and will also march in the Tri-State Band Festival at Luverne on Sept. 29.

“The challenge with a patriotic parade show is making sure it’s not cheesy or trite but leaves the audience with a thirst for wanting to do more for their country and not just for themselves,” observed Loy.

“I’m excited to show everyone the new music and show, and to have everyone see what this year’s edition has to offer.”

The “Spirit of Worthington” Trojan Marching Band debuts its “We the People” show at 6 p.m. Thursday in front of WHS on Clary Street. A fundraiser barbecue meal, sponsored by WAMBO, begins on site at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The Trojans will also appear Friday in the Lake Crystal “Battle of the Bands,” and on Saturday in the Fulda Wood Duck Festival Parade.