WORTHINGTON — A Trojan music tradition picks up where it left off with the annual Indoor Marching Band Concert this Friday evening.
Featuring 160 Worthington Middle School (WMS) sixth- through eighth graders and 135 Worthington High School (WHS) ninth- through 12th graders, the concert focuses on marching band numbers and also serves as a band fundraising vehicle — albeit minus the usual waffle feed.
The concert will begin at 7 p.m.
“We’re happy to be carrying on with the indoor marching band concert,” said Mike Thompson, who is in his first year as director of the WHS band program.
WMS in the lead
Leading off the concert is the WMS combined band, with longtime WMS director Mike Andersen at the helm.
“We had a slightly scaled-down version of the marching band this year, with woodwinds, brass and drumline but no color guard,” said Andersen.
In September’s King Turkey Day parade, Andersen’s instrumentalists performed a Jerry Burns arrangement of Ricky Martin’s “The Cup of Life.”
They’re mixing it up for Friday’s concert, adding in the Johnnie Vinson-arranged theme from “The Black Panther” and “High Hopes” (originally recorded by the group Panic! At The Disco), which will feature guest trombonist Jason Roseth of Augustana University.
Although COVID restrictions prevented the middle schoolers from making their normal trek to Valleyfair, they were nevertheless able to participate in a two-week summer band camp during June, Andersen reported.
“That at least gave us an opportunity for this group to play together before the start of the school year,” he said.
WHS band sees success, change
Thompson isn’t seeking to shake up the Indoor Marching Band Concert this fall, choosing instead to keep things steady.
“We’ll be following previous years’ concert format for the most part,” he said, mentioning the reprise of the “Takin’ It to the Streets” marching band show, the traditional season slideshow, the commanders’ whistle ceremony and the popular “lights out” show as anticipated elements.
No attendance limitations are in place for the event, so parents and families are encouraged to join in the musical fun.
Thompson, a native of St. Clair and a 2020 graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a degree in K-12 instrumental and classroom music education, is delighted to take up the band baton in Worthington.
Thompson is a brass specialist and a veteran of marching bands and several award-winning drum and bugle corps. He completed his student teaching assignment in Waseca and filled a full-time teaching role in that community last year.
“The ’Takin’ It to the Streets’ show is really entertaining to watch and listen to and has kept the crowds engaged,” Thompson said of the Trojans’ 2021 parade show. “It was already familiar to most of the kids, so that helped me coming in.”
That familiarity also earned the band plenty of kudos this fall; besides marching in the hometown King Turkey Day parade, they appeared at the Tri-State Band Festival, where they were named first in their class, and at marching band competitions in Algona, Iowa, and Yankton, S.D., collecting grand champion trophies and several caption awards at the latter two stops.
They capped their season last Saturday at the Anoka Halloween Parade.
“Yes, we enjoyed critical success this fall, but following Jon Loy — those are big shoes to fill,” Thompson said, alluding to his predecessor who led the WHS band from 2006 through last spring.
“He (Loy) did some incredible things with this program, so walking in as a new educator it was helpful to have that success in front of me,” Thompson shared. “With our (2021) season’s success, I know I can carry on that legacy and keep moving the program forward in the direction Jon set it up to go.”
Since school began in September, Thompson’s initiation also included numerous pep band appearances at local Trojan sporting events (football, volleyball and soccer), school pep fests and section- and state-level soccer matches.
“It’s cool,” said Thompson. “For me, I like seeing teams and people succeed, so it’s been exciting for the teams and students to have this success.”
Thompson is aided this season by student band commanders Alec Langerud, Steven Adams, Christina Magana and Oziel Briones. The senior commanders are preparing to hand whistles to new recruits on Friday night.
Thompson is confident families and community band supporters will flock to Friday’s Indoor Marching Band Concert as they have in past years, as tradition and Trojan pride dictate.
“I have some of the best colleagues and parents to work with I could have ever asked for,” said Thompson. “This is a lot of fun.”
The annual WMS/WHS Indoor Marching Band Concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the gymnasium at Worthington High School, 1211 Clary St. A basket raffle (values ranging from approximately $50 to $125) and other items (including a guitar donated by Midbell Music and professionally framed photos) takes place in the WHS lobby from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Pep band tunes begin at 7 p.m. There is a concert admission fee; ISD 518 activity passes will also be honored, and students are admitted free with ISD 518 student IDs.