AHS takes Sweepstakes
ALGONA – Weeks of hard work came together Saturday afternoon for the 16 bands in the Algona Band Day Parade.
The Bishop Garrigan High School Solid Gold Marching Band started its day with the parade and a pre-performance ritual to get everyone ready and excited for competition.
Drum Major Courtney Kirsch started the pre-parade routine with a band “pop quiz”
“When do we put our horns up,” she asked.
“On four,” was a reply from the band.
“And when do we put them down?”
Again, “on four” was echoed.
As the band joined hands forming a circle to pray, one more voice shouted “What time is it?”
“Band time, hut,” was the enthusiastic reply with horns in the air as they took their spot in the line-up.
The Garrigan band had been hard at work since Saturday morning, making one final run of the field routine before the parade.
“They had a show last night,” said Ken Ferjak, BGHS band director. “They’ve already practiced this morning to work on a few things.”
The Solid Gold Band’s hard work paid off as it took first place in the Class 1A High School Division of both the parade and field competition.
The Scarlet Regiment Marching Band from Algona High School debuted new band uniforms for the first time at Saturday’s parade. Both AHS and Garrigan received new uniforms this season with the help of $25,000 donations from Lyle and the late Diane Bensen.
“They really look great,” said Kurt Kissinger, AHS band director. “They finally arrived about 10:30 Thursday night and we worked sorting them until about midnight.”
The Scarlet Regiment took first out of six bands in the Class 3A High School Division of the parade, performing a portion of the band’s field show, titled “Joy.”
“I felt really good about the parade,” Kissinger said. “But we’ve decided when we are done, at the end of the day, we don’t let our level of success be determined by our award.”
At the end of the evening, AHS took home first place in the Class 3A Division of the field show, along with the awards for Best Winds, Best Marching and Maneuvering and the coveted John Aboud Sweepstakes.
“We really prepared hard and I think that all paid off tonight,” said AHS Drum Major Camryn Shaw. “I was really happy with our parade performance; we had struggled at Homecoming so getting first lifted our spirits for tonight.
For many bands, Algona Band Day is the final show before this Saturday’s state contest.
“This is the last big run in front of an audience before state,” said Shaw. “Next week we’ll go to state in Sheldon and then over to Orange City to perform in its competition.”
This year marked the 68th annual Band Day Parade and the 36th field show.
John Aboud, founder of the field competition and for whom the sweepstakes is named, said the field show was meant as a way for bands to build on their performance in preparation for state.
“The real goal for these bands is to get that Division I rating at state,” said Aboud. “This is an opportunity to get critiqued before state and have a week to take those judges comments and improve. Directors like to focus on not just the quality of their performance, but also improvement.
The parade also adds some incentive to the Sweepstakes Award as parade score is figured into a band’s overall final score.
“It rewards groups to do both,” said Aboud. “We like to get them in the parade, that’s the big community event and it gives them a reason to come for the full day.”