The band is back

Published 11:45 am Sunday, July 1, 2012

Albert Lea will have a full marching band in its Third of July Parade for the first time since 2007. --Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Leans will hear the pounding of Albert Lea High School’s drumline during the Third of July Parade, but this year it’ll be joined by a full band once again.

Director of Bands Suzanne Mauer said there hasn’t been a full Albert Lea High School marching band in the parade since 2007. She’s been hearing that community members are excited to have the marching band back in the city’s largest parade.

Band Director Suzanne Mauer walks backward while students practice marching Friday. Albert Lea High School's marching band will be featured in the Third of July Parade for the first time since 2007. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

“A lot of people have said they’re excited to have us back,” Mauer said.

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About 40 students comprise the band, which does include an honor guard in the front with flags and the school’s banner. Mauer said the students will be in full uniform, with helmets and the feather plumes.

“We just finished getting them all fitted,” Mauer said on Friday.

The students practiced for a few hours each day last week, and Mauer said it wasn’t hard to find interested students. She also said the band is a good mix of instruments, including woodwinds, brass and percussion.

“It didn’t take a whole lot of recruiting,” Mauer said.

Sam Ware plays the tenor drums during a practice Friday. A group of about 40 students has been practicing this week and will march in Albert Lea's Third of July Parade. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Previously Mauer had said she wanted to try to have a marching band that just practiced the week leading up to the parade because it’s a shorter time commitment for busy students. She said she’ll most likely do a similar program next year but would consider expanding to the Austin parade as well and possibly a trip to Valleyfair.

“I would love to continue this,” Mauer said. “It’s the most fun I’ve had so far being the band director.”

Incoming ninth-grader Sam Ware, who plays tenor drums, said he’s marched in drumline in previous years, but that playing with a full band is more fun.

“It’s a much better sound,” Ware said.

The students have been marching around the parking lot at Albert Lea High School in the mornings, and Mauer said she hasn’t heard a lot of complaining about the heat. That to her is a sign that they’re liking what they’re doing.

“It has been fun,” Mauer said.

The band will play “Patriotic Spectacular,” an arrangement that’s a medley of “This is My Country,” “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.” Mauer said the band played it on Memorial Day at Graceland Cemetery and said some of the students were familiar with the song.

“The majority of these kids have never marched before, so it’s not going to be perfect, but overall they’re doing really well,” Mauer said.