MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — High school marching bands became prolific in Minnesota mainly after World War I, when veterans with service band experience came home and accepted teaching jobs.
Although school districts’ cuts in funding “the arts” have caused the number to dwindle a bit, there are still over 60 Minnesota high schools that carry on the marching band tradition.
Your pick for the Best in Minnesota, yet again, is the Rosemount High School Band.
Born from deep militaristic roots, today’s marching bands thrive on precision, timing and teamwork.
“We have to trust each other to be exactly where we need to be for those 10 to 12 minutes,” said drum major Jaqueline Radosevich.
And you’d better be in shape, because this is not your grandparents marching band.
“You’re exhausted after a show … you’ve got nothing left,” said drum major Johnathon Whaley.
Imagine performing a 12-minute program, carrying an instrument that may weigh as much as 40 pounds, and you will quickly realize that these kids are not only musicians — they’re athletes.
“We do a lot of physically demanding things, running laps, working on our core,” Whaley said.
So, perhaps it is time to do away with any of those “nerdy images” we may have had about band camp, because the Rosemount Marching Irish are 11-time Minnesota state champions, with appearances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, as well as the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, with other accolades too numerous to mention.
“I give our district a lot of credit,” said Principal Pete Roback. “They truly follow the ‘Triple A’ philosophy: arts, academics and athletics.”
Setting a strong example for this 280 member juggernaut are the five drum majors: Caleb Maida, Martha Hernandez, Brett Abraham, Jaqueline Radosevich and Johnathon Whaley.
“We do a lot of stuff behind the scenes. We conduct the band, keep time,” Whaley said.
They start each year with a blank canvas, learning the music and mapping out the choreography — under the leadership of 17-year veteran teacher Leon Seive.
“There’s a whole lot more behind the scenes than people realize. Coordinating chaperones, doing fundraising, medical personal, advertisements, we have a social media presence,” Seives said.
And all the hours of sweat and hard work culminates into just a handful of performances, which begs the question: Is it worth it?
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without marching band,” said drum major Brett Abraham.