State title highlights a busy fall for marching band
When the Rosemount High School marching band won its eighth straight state marching band title last Saturday at the Metrodome it was one more highlight in a year that has proved to be full of memorable moments.
Consider the band’s October schedule. On Oct. 8, 30 members of the Irish band donned uniforms to perform at We Day, an international event meant to demonstrate that young people can make a difference. They were part of a lineup at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center that included speakers such as Martin Luther King III and Jordan’s Queen Noor and entertainers like Carly Rae Jepsen and Demi Lovato. When they were done performing for a crowd of about 18,000, the band introduced members of the Minnesota Vikings.“It was all very professional. Lights. Sound. It was like a rock concert,” band director Steve Olsen said. “Our kids got to perform in a rock concert setting. “They had a great time. They were thrilled.”Then, Saturday, there was the Youth In Music competition at the Metrodome. The band has won the event every year it has been held and this year walked away with the Minnesota championship, the grand championship trophy for the top band overall in the multi-state competition and the top spot in the multi-state finals.Madison Holtze, who soloed on mellophone, French horn and violin, won best soloist at the competition; drum majors Emily Brossart, Jessie Cox, Tony Hanto and George Tangen were recognized as best drum majors; and the RHS color guard took top honors. On Tuesday, the RHS drumline performed at the Minnesota Lynx championship celebration in downtown Minneapolis. They were part of the team’s parade, then played at Target Center. If you’re keeping count, that’s a hat trick of major Minnesota sports facilities where the band has performed this month. And that’s still not the end. This weekend, the band will travel to St. Louis to once again compete in the Bands of America Super Regional held at the Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams. The Irish are regular finalists at the competition, which this year will have a field of 64 bands, its biggest ever. Olsen said finals are the goal again this year in a competition that will feature several past national champions.“They’re ready. They’re going to do well,” he said. Most years, the St. Louis trip would mark the end of competition season for the marching band, but this year it’s more of a beginning. With the band selected to perform in the Tournament of Roses parade New Years Day in Pasadena, the end of competitive field show season means the Irish get to start focusing a little more on their parade performance. That will present some challenges. Most years at this time marching band students head their own direction, to other classes or other activities. Not this year.“It will be a bit of a challenge only because we’ll have the change of trimester and we’ll have kids off in different classes,” Olsen said. “We have kids who are in winter sports.”With winter weather around the corner, the band will have practice time at the Irish Dome. In addition to the Tournament of Roses parade the band will perform its field show as part of a field show festival in Pasadena. They will also participate in a parade at Disneyland.It can all seem a little exhausting at times, but nobody is complaining.“This is going to be one of those falls and years for all of us involved that we’ll carry with us for the rest of our lives,” Olsen said.