North Iowa marching bands prep for halftime performances

Central Springs High School marching band members were back in formation for the first time on Wednesday.

As the rain poured down outside, the first notes of the season were being played inside. Students were quick to recognize which measures they were a little shaky on and made a note on their sheet music.

Director Cole Younger told the 28 musicians several times to not be too hard on themselves, especially freshmen. They just needed to get through their first performance from the stands on Friday.

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The Central Springs trumpet section practices marching band music on Wednesday morning at Central Springs High School.

Abby Koch

From there, the performance would be fine tuned and movements on the field would be added.

“Sophomores through seniors, we might play it a little slower than we usually do so bare with me,” Younger said to the band.

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Several North Iowa high school bands are preparing for their first marching band performances of the seasons. Many of them are back together for the first time this week and some were putting on first performances on Friday.

A key objective the first week for directors is building up the confidence in the new band members. The other priority is focusing on fundamental musical concepts and playing in tune.

“(Upperclassmen) play an incredible role in getting the freshmen welcomed into, not just the band, but high school itself,” said Younger. “They’re kind of like big brothers and sisters in a way.”

Garner-Hayfield-Ventura (GHV) High School band lost a lot of key members to graduation according to senior Nolan Balk. Along with the new faces, GHV band is being led by first time director Andrew Piper.

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Band director Andrew Piper leads Garner-Hayfield-Ventura High School band through rehearsal on Thursday.

Abby Koch

“I think (this season) will be a new experience and a new direction,” said Balk. “It will be interesting to see how this season goes.”

The 44 GHV band members will be performing a collection of Beatles tunes at halftime on Sept. 2. Piper said whatever the students learn before the first game is what they will put on display.

“We’re going to have something ready to go. I am hoping to have a good chunk of the drill of the first song down,” Piper said.

“A Knight Across the Pond” is Newman Catholic’s marching band theme for this year, which will be on display during homecoming. This performance date will be North Iowa’s one and only time to see the show.

“All the music is from people over in Europe, across the ‘pond,’” said New Catholic band director Mary Kate Hines.

50 band members will be playing the pop tunes of ABBA and Coldplay. Hines said they will be shaking off some of the dust and getting back in the rhythm of practicing again. She added her upperclassmen take active roles in guiding the underclassmen.

“The first couple days outside, its about learning the fundamentals of marching. Its what foot do you start with, are we all starting on the same foot, are we staying together,” said Hines.

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The GHV percussion section practices marching band music on Thursday morning.

Abby Koch

All of the bands had two goals for themselves this season: coming together to succeed and achieve division one ratings.

“It’s good to be back,” said GHV senior Jenna Gerdes.

“I love music and it’s always fun,” said Central Springs sophomore Gavin Ryner. “Playing band is really fun, especially being with the band kids and having a good time.”

“Its a little bit of a difference, playing less over the summer but it is fun to get right back into it,” said Newman Catholic senior Andrew Arthur.

Returning band members understand their role to help freshmen learn the ropes. Some of the musicians are already holding the newbies accountable to learn the music and movements.

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Central Springs drum major Abby Pate conducts the marching band on Wednesday morning at Central Springs High School.

Abby Koch

“Since I’m a drum major, it kind of gives me a big role to try and help the kids with their music and help them understand what they’re reading,” said Central Springs senior Abby Pate.

“(Freshman) are going to have to step up,” said Balk.

All of the directors encouraged communities to come to football games not only to support the athletes, but to support the band as well.

“We feed off of the energy that (fans) bring to the game. The more energy that is out there in the crowd, you can hear that in the band,” said Younger.

Abby covers education and entertainment for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at


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