LEXINGTON, Neb. – The Pride of the Minutemen Marching Band takes the field this fall as one of the largest bands in the state.
Band directors Chad Scharff and Spencer Hansen, along with Flag Corps director Melissa Welch, are preparing the band for halftime performances as well as competitions to be held in Lincoln in October.
Early morning practices started the first week of school and, like the U.S. Postal Service they do not let rain, snow, fog or wind keep them off the field. They will be out there every morning until the Nebraska State Marching Band competition on Oct. 26.
During marching band season most Lexington residents don’t bother to set their clocks. They just know that when they hear those instruments tuning up on the practice field it is 7 a.m.
That being said band doesn’t end in October. Band members actually have a full year’s worth of a season with summer band camp, marching, pep, jazz and concert bands.
Another fine arts group, the speech team, is known to have a long season too. It’s not uncommon for members to begin preparation in October, but their season doesn’t officially kick off until January.
It seems the popularity of fine arts programs at Lexington High School is widespread. The marching band, which had 142 members last year and now has 178 members this year, with about 60 new incoming freshmen, said incoming Minuteman Fine Arts Association President Amy Hill.
“Fine Arts Programs give students with varied backgrounds, who are willing to work hard, a chance to be successful in school activities,” Hill said.
Various programs exist under the fine arts umbrella, such as drama, choir and speech.
Hill, a “band mom” said with regard to the marching band, besides continuing to fundraise, a major goal of hers is to get more parents and community members involved with helping the marching band.
“We have a lot of helpers that are parents of seniors,” she said. “I’m hoping to recruit more parents to volunteer to help support the band.”
The school district does provide monetary support for fine arts programs, the school purchased 50 new band uniforms. This year fundraising was needed to fund the extra expenses, such as a trailer to haul band equipment, Hill said.
“While the school district provides support for fine arts programs, fundraising is necessary to help with other expenses,” she said. “These include camp scholarships, meals, competition expenses and clinicians.”
Hill said she was thankful for the generous support throughout the Lexington Community for the Fine Arts Programs and noted that Minutemen Fine Arts Association (MFAA) has been invited to participate in the Give Big Lexington campaign that will be happening in November.
For more information on Give Big Lexington see the website: www.givebiglexington.razoo.com
Hill said she was thankful for the strong support from Todd and Kim Booth and Platte Valley Auto, which has sponsored two test drive fundraisers for the MFAA and the marching band, noting $11,000 raised from the test drive fundraiser last year allowed the marching band to buy a much needed trailer used to haul equipment and instruments to marching band competitions.
Even though the choir and speech seasons don’t start until later this winter and January respectively, both coaches said the best way to support their programs was to not only attend their events but to show moral support of students involved in the activities.
“If you know a student in choir, be sure to tell that student what a great job he/she did last year and what incredible potential we have this year,” said Lexington Choir Director Brian Botsford. “My goal is to continue to see musical growth throughout the year and build on the huge improvements we made this past year.”
“My goal for the year is to see each member of the team improve from week to week,” said speech coach Kaitlyn Clark. “Even the tiniest change in one week can take a performance to the next level.”
The best way to support speech students was to attend one of their speech meets and watch them perform, Clark said.
One thing is clear, the fine arts students at LHS are working hard with big dreams of success on the field and the stage. For information on band, speech and choral performances you can view the calendar at www.lexschools.org.