Three months of hard work came to conclusion for 19 Central Iowa high school marching bands Saturday at the Iowa High School Music Association State Marching Band Contest at Dodger Stadium.
The bands, traveling from as far away as Estherville and Northwood, have been working on perfecting and polishing their marching and musicianship skills since mid-August and were only up against themselves as they competed in the final contest of the season for a judges rating, rather than championship titles and trophies.
The Cougar Marching Band from Manson Northwest Webster has been competing in the area for a few years, but made its first appearance at state to round out their competition season Saturday.
Members of the Webster City High School marching band participate in the Iowa High School Music Association State Marching Band contest at Dodger Stadium in Fort Dodge on Saturday.
"I think we did pretty good," said senior MNW band member Alli Rinard. "This is our first time at state but we've done the North Central competition here for a few years now."
Rinard said the band worked extra hard to perfect their show of big band tunes for the state competition.
"We did a lot better here today than we did just two weeks ago," she said. "We've really worked hard and improved our focus these past few weeks."
For the Pocahontas Area/Pomeroy-Palmer Marching Band, state has been the traditional way to conclude a season of marching on the field.
Their competition set featured three popular Top 40 pop tunes: "We Found Love" and "Where Have You Been" by Rhianna and "On The Floor" by Jennifer Lopez.
"It's been a fun show," said junior PAC/PP Drum Major Emily Dornath. "We did a set of newer popular stuff, which makes it fun."
"Music you know gets everyone excited about it," said senior Drum Major Chelsey Wiemers. "It's our last big performance of the year."
Colder temperatures in the upper 30s posed a bit of a challenge for the musicians and colorguard members, but Dornath said she was still happy with the way her band executed the performance.
"When it gets really cold like this it gets hard to keep the instruments warm; then they get hard to play," Dornath said. "And the colorguard costumes aren't very warm either. But everyone still did a really good job."
The Webster City High School Marching Band was also pleased with its performance, which was the first one in cold weather for the year.
"Despite the cold they played extremely well," said Roger Steig, director of bands at Webster City High School. "I'm very pleased with the performance. We have one more football game to play for this year before we finish the season."
The Algona High School Scarlet Regiment Marching Band has also been working on its show, "Imagine," which featured a nursery rhyme theme, since early August when they learned the routine.
"It's a lot of fun once you really know your show well," said AHS colorguard member Tiffany Long.
"This was by far the best we've done all year," said AHS Drum Major Alexis Beenken. "It's been fun, it's my senior year and it's been really cool to be the band's leader this year."
The Fort Dodge Senior High Dodger Marching Band concluded the day performing a set of songs by the band Journey. They earned a judge's top Division I rating for their performance.
"They did really well," said FDSH Band Director Mike Richardson. "They battled the cold well, their last contest was two weeks ago, but it's like being in a different climate this week."
Richardson said good leadership helped the band earn its high rating.
"This band has a lot of good kids," said Richardson. "We have good leaders in our seniors and a great group of freshmen who've been doing all the right things."