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Let the good times roll

Director tells about challenges, rewards of the season

October 30, 2017
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

By David Swartz

Managing Editor

The 2017-18 Estherville Lincoln Central Marching Band wrapped up another successful season with their final home performance during halftime of the Oct. 20 football game against MOC-Floyd Valley.

Article Photos

ELC band director Laura Giebler increased the challenges to her group again this year and the students responded.

At state competition, the Midgets earned a 'superior' rating for the sixth consecutive year.

Giebler answered these questions about this year's marching band.

Q: What were some of the musical challenges this year?

A: The decision to perform the musical style of jazz on the marching band field show created some new challenges for students. The rhythm section is crucial to a jazz band and when you transfer jazz music to the marching band field your percussion section needs to function as a drum set, and your tuba player needs to function as a bass guitar. What is typically performed by two people in a jazz band is represented by numerous players in a marching band so the challenge becomes to agree on how we as a band are going to present this music and work together to maintain tempo and style.

Q: What were some of the choreography challenges?

A: One of the categories that a marching band is judged on is visual execution and general effect. The most challenging aspect of this category is to design the drill to visually represent what the students are playing and what the audience is hearing. The color guard plays an important role in this category as well and creates the largest challenge when we have to consider where the guard is placed on the field and how it is integrated into the band.

When it comes to drill design and choreography, I'm so grateful that I have the help of Craig Began (Assistant Band Director), Betty Lou Jones, and Rebecca Lair (Color Guard Instructors/ Choreographers). It takes the help and expertise of many people to have a successful marching band.

Another one of our challenges this year, is one that I think every band has-working with the new marchers. It takes time to develop the skill of marching and some students pick it up faster than others. These students worked very hard and did their very best at every performance. I'm proud of how much they have improved from the first performance to the end of the season.

This is also the longest show we have ever done so I would say that it was one of most physically challenging shows that we have ever done. Typically a show will last approximately 8 to 10 minutes but this year we used the entire 15 minutes of time which is allowed by the IHSMA with only about 30 seconds to spare.

One of my goals this year was to expose my students to some more competitive bands and challenge them to strive for a higher level of performance and execution than they have in years past. This is why I chose competitions such as the Pursuit of Excellence and The Dutchmen Field Championships. These competitions draw bands from the Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Nebraska and bring judges from across the United States. They are also not judged on the same scale as Algona Band Days and the State Marching Contest. They use a different ballot so when you compare our scores you really need to compare the Pursuit of Excellence and The Dutchmen Field Championships to see the improvement from the beginning of the season to the end. The students pushed themselves very hard this season and I commend them for all the long hours they have put in and their dedication towards excellence.

Q: Please list results from each competition. Please comment on each competition and/or how the band improved throughout the season.

A: Sept. 23 - Pursuit of Excellence Competition in Marshall, Minn.

This is the second year that we have attended this competition. It is attended by some very fine bands and I find the competition to be highly competitive. It offers a clinic where the judges work with the students, which is very useful at the beginning of the season. This year there were 7 bands in our class, and we placed 6th. Although our placing was not high in our class, I was still very pleased with how we performed the music and sold the show. In fact we placed 2nd in our class on music general effect and 3rd in visual general effect. We came away from this competition and clinic knowing that we needed to make improvements in the area of marching and maneuvering execution. Which focuses on body carriage, horn carriage, proper number of steps and step size from picture to picture. The basics of how we move on the field.

1st - Hastings, MN - 66.3

2nd - Harrisburg, SD - 62.7

3rd - Anoka, MN - 59.2

4th - Sheldon, - 57.5

5th - Andover, MN - 55.9

6th - Estherville - 53.9

7th - Bishop Heelen - 52.6

Sept. 30 - Algona

Band Days

We did very well at Algona, and I felt we made a great deal of improvement in one week. There were 7 bands in our class and 10 band overall. The band placed 3rd in our class and 3rd overall, and the color guard placed 1st in our class and 2nd overall. I was again very pleased with our general effect scores both musically and visually and our execution scores in regards to marching showed a great deal of improvement. We received a very nice comment from one of the judges that said "Awesome Soloists!!" "I can tell that you have some very fine performers in this band!"

1st - Forest City (Class 3A) - 78.0

2nd - Crestwood (Class 3A) - 75.1

3rd - Estherville (Class 3A) - 73.6

4th - Humboldt (Class 3A) - 73.4

5th - Bishop Heelen (Class 3A) - 73.3

6th - Lake Mills (Class 2A) - 72.3

7th - Clear Lake (Class 3A) - 65.6

8th - Charles City (Class 3A) - 62.2

9th - Garner Hayfield Ventura (Class 2A) - 60.0

10th - Bishop Garrigan (Class 1A) - 51.9

Best Color Guard went to Lake Mills with a score of 81 and 2nd went to ELC with a score of 75

Oct. 7 - Dutchmen Field Championships in Orange City

This was the first year of attending this competition and I was very impressed with how the competition was organized. I found it to be very competitive and a good challenge for my students. The students especially enjoyed the end of the competition. "Before they announce awards they invite all the students from all the bands to go out and sit on the field, they shut off all the lights, and then they provide a spectacular fireworks display It was allot of fun for the kids and a wonderful sight to see that many students celebrate marching band and everything that goes into performing a show" There were 6 bands in our class and we placed 5th, with our color guard coming in 4th. It was a very close competition with less than 5 points separating the top 5 bands.

1st - Le Mars - 65.8

2nd - Sioux Center - 64.9

3rd - Madison, SD - 62.9

4th - Spirit Lake - 62.2

5th - Estherville - 61.2

6th - Bishop Heelan - 60.5

Oct. 11 - State Marching Contest - Sheldon

The band earned their sixth consecutive Superior Rating with a score of 74.2. It was at this competition that I felt the percussion section demonstrated the most improvement. They improved their score of a 63 at Algona to a 70 at State. The color guard also improved as well with a 75 at Algona to a 82 at State.

Q: Talk about the contributions of this year's seniors.

A: This is the largest class of seniors that I have had the pleasure of teaching. This marching band show was designed to showcase just a portion of their talent this and I'm looking forward to more opportunities in concert band, jazz band, and pep band. I'm also excited to see how they will continue to share their talents after they leave ELC. I was fortunate to be assigned 7th and 8th grade band when they were 7th graders and I have enjoyed watching them grow as musicians and students! They have been great leaders in the music program and have been one of the most patient and willing classes I've ever had when it comes to working with the younger students. They will be greatly missed.



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