WORTHINGTON - At 6 p.m. Thursday, nearly 300 ISD 518 sixth- through 12th-graders will offer a free preview of their fall marching band music at Worthington Middle School, 1401 Crailsheim Road.


In addition, WAMBO (Worthington Area Music Boosters Organization) is hosting a barbecue meal on site beginning at 5:15 p.m. as a fundraiser for the district’s music programs.


Any and all interested community members are welcome to attend the outdoor event, which is designed to give band parents a closer look at what these hundreds of young musicians have worked on during the two weeks of band camp that followed the close of the 2018-19 academic year.


“This is a great chance for our parents and community members to come out and hear us,” said Mike Andersen, director of the 121 sixth- through eighth-graders who have participated in the WMS band camp each morning since last Monday.


Mentioned Jon Loy, director of the award-winning Worthington High School “Spirit of Worthington” Trojan Marching Band: “We’ll be sharing our ‘We the People’ show, which is in its second year - but we’ve changed the look of it a little.


“This edition offers more pageantry, and because we’ve grown by 22 students to a total of 170 kids, our higher numbers have made for some challenges and opportunities.”


Due in part to snow days and other schedule variations, Thursday marks the only occasion this summer for area audiences to see the WHS band in action.


“We’re missing out on parades we’ve typically done at this time of year, both locally and regionally,” said Loy.


But once the fall season kicks off with the Trojan band’s appearance at the King Turkey Day Parade on Sept. 14, it will be full steam ahead for a busy 2019 competitive schedule.


“We’re capping it off with a trip to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade in Atlanta, Ga., between Christmas and New Year’s,” said Loy, adding that he is grateful to the many parent volunteers and band staff members who assist him in preparing his students for success.


With the WHS band camp operating over a two-week period from roughly 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, Loy is pleased with how his students - including 46 incoming freshmen - have risen to the challenge.


“This year’s camp is filled with a lot of excitement and optimism,” said Loy.


“Our student leadership of 52 upperclassmen, which includes four senior band commanders [Sarah DeSmith, Katie O’Donnell, Cynthia Souksavath and Addison Wass], section leaders and a leadership corps, helps guide each rehearsal and shares the vision of what our parade show can offer to spectators in the coming season.


“There are high expectations for this version of the WHS band.”


With its patriotic medley that blends portions of “This is My Country,” “The Marine’s Hymn,” “Anchor’s Away” and “The National Emblem March,” among other selections, the “We the People” show proved to be a stirring parade feature in the 2018 competitive season.


“It’s been fun for our returning students because they’re getting a fresh take on a show they’re already familiar with, and for our new members it’s exciting because of the enthusiasm the sophomores, juniors and seniors have for the production,” said Loy.


Loy’s pipeline to musical success can be traced to Andersen and his charges at WMS, as well as to fifth-grade band instructor Jeanette Jenson. Andersen, with nearly 20 years under his belt at the helm of the WMS band program, has adapted music from the popular “Avengers: Endgame” movie to suit his middle school instrumentalists.


The WMS band will thus play “Iron Man,” “Thor,” “The Dark World��� and “The Avengers Theme” on Thursday, with their performance leading the way at 6 p.m. followed by the marching Trojans in full uniform and costuming, plus a complete complement of props and color guard gear.


Loy is eager for the greater community to witness the achievements of the WMS and WHS bands.


“We invite everyone to stop out to the middle school on Thursday to support our musicians,” said Loy.


“Bring a lawn chair and prepare to enjoy the shows.”