Ah, autumn, the time of year when farmers harvest, pig(skin)s fly, trees blush – and bands march!

On Friday nights and competition Saturdays the regiments armed with horns and drums are as technicolored as oaks and maples.

Walk and chew gum at the same time? How about choreography and music! Don’t try it at home, just get to a high school football game or marching band festival near you, take a seat in the stands and enjoy.

Yesterday at East High’s Williams Stadium the 4th annual DMPS Marching Band Festival took the field, highlighted by the participation, for the first time, of the Hoover Huskies. They joined their marching peers from East, Lincoln, North and Roosevelt for an event that is part performance and part critique from a panel of Iowa college and high school band directors.

It was only a year ago that band director Ryan Rowley resurrected a dormant marching program and pulled the band uniforms out of mothballs. He took the job on short notice and was only able to install the bare bones of a full performance set. But this year is different, just in time to provide a fitting accompaniment to the school’s yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary.

The Huskies were the first school to perform at an event that is noncompetitive. It’s a clinic really, a chance to get some constructive input from objective observers.

Senior drum major Josh Henry mounted the podium, saluted the press box when the PA announcer asked “Is your band ready?” and raised his arms into position. “Mark time four and…”

And away they went, into their medley of Lady Gaga, opening with Born This Way.

Afterwards the observers gathered the band in the middle of the field for some feedback. Most of it was fine points about keeping chins up and shoulders back. But there was a main point to be made and Steve Stickney, Director of Bands at Mount Mercy University, made it in conclusion of his remarks.

“You guys are the ones who will create a new culture at Hoover High School. How many people get to be a part of something as cool as that?”

Thirty-six a year ago, 55 this year. Forward, march!

Photos from the DMPS Marching Band Festival

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