Marching Out a Winner - from The Messenger
There’s no bus ride.
They walk, in full uniform and carrying their instruments, from the high school several blocks away.
“We do it all the time,” Al Paulson, FDSH band director, said.
Paulson gave them the coach’s pep talk.
“Musicality! Execution! Brass players watch your angles! Dress your plumes!” he shouted.
Then he gave them one bit of final instruction.
“Have fun. Have fun,” he said. “It’s what we’re here for.”
For the seniors in the band, Saturday’s field time was the end of their band career.
That included Chris Hatton, 17.
“It’s my last time in front of our fans,” he said.
Once afield, the students performed a medley of Beatles songs.
Marissa Smith, 17, a senior, is one of the band’s four drum majors. She has an elevated view of the their performance from her directing platform.
“We marched with phenomenal feet,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of fun conducting the last two years.”
Her fellow drum major, Collin Ellsbury, 17, had another task in addition to directing. He played a guitar solo to get the set going.
Weather can play havoc with the tuning.
“Tuning it can be tricky,” he said. “The hardest part is getting the amp to work right.”
He’s enjoyed his band years too. He will continue to be involved with music in college; he plans to major in musical theater.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “I made some of my best friends in band.”
Ellsbury evaluated the last performance.
“Was it perfect?” he asked. “No. They gave their best and all of us enjoyed it.”
Paulson was happy with the band as well.
“I’m very pleased with their performance,” he said. “As to the score, the judges will tell.”
It turned out the judges agreed with Paulson: They gave the Fort Dodge band a Division I rating, the highest possible.