WASECA — The 32nd annual Waseca Marching Classic will take place on Saturday, September 21.
The day will be filled with a parade at noon, educational clinics, field show at 5:15 p.m. and fireworks for all to watch.
In order to make the day possible it takes a committee of about 10 and an estimated 100 volunteers before and on the day of the classic.
“It’s good for the kids,” Waseca Marching Classic committee member Les Tlougan said. “It’s good for the community, It gets people out. It brings a lot of people to town. If you look downtown we bring about 750 to 1,000 people that day.”
Planning for the classic begins the month after the last classic with feedback of how it went and what should be changed. After the initial meeting there is a few months break before a lot of the planning goes into the next classic. Burns said the last two months are the busiest with the planning along with a lot of last-minute items that need to be done.
Day of Marching Classic
From the minute the bands arrive through the fireworks each band is taken care of by a host. This is the band’s “go-to person” when the band needs something or has questions.
“They start with them as soon as they arrive and they stay with them the rest of the day,” Waseca Marching Classic committee Chairperson Edna Burns said. “Just to make them feel that Waseca was a great place to be.”
There are 15 bands participating in the classic. There will be eight participating in the parade and 10 participating in the field show with some of the bands participating in both competitions.
The parade will start at noon and travel along State Street heading north. There will be eight parade bands marching with classic cars, dignitaries, royalty and other units between each band. There will be six judges set up along the route, each critiquing their own category.
As the judges watch each marching band they are speaking their critiques into a microphone that records all of the comments. Once the parade is over, Tlougan collects the data and shares it with the respective bands to use as a learning tool.
The parade awards will be handed out at Trowbridge Park following the parade.
There are place awards and caption awards. Caption awards are best drum major, best drum line, best horn line, best color guard and other positions. This award is normally done for the field show but this year the caption awards will be done for the parade, too.
“It’s not what you come away with,” Burns said. “It’s the experience. It’s something to grow on and work on for next time, not that you need a first place, that’s not the important thing, it’s how you improve yourself and as a group.”
Prior to the parade some of the educational clinics will take place while a majority of them will be done after the parade. The bands were able to sign up to participate in a clinic for free. They could pick a parade or field show clinic that one of the judges will run. Of the bands attending 12 bands chose to participate in a clinic.
During the clinic the bands are spread out between locations and they perform their parade or field show for the clinicians to critique. When given the feedback some of the bands will redo portions to see what it would look like.
“Butch Dufault, started this thing (Marching Classic). He was a band director,” Tlougan said. “He made this whole thing happen in the beginning along with a few other people and one of the things that he pushed hard on is that there needed to be something in there that was educational for the kids.”
At 5:15 the field show portion of the day will begin with remarks before the beginning of the performances. This will happen at the high school football stadium and there is an $8 charge at the gate for entrance.
After all 10 bands perform their field show, the awards will be handed out around 8:30 p.m. Shortly after the awards are handed out there will be a fireworks show for everyone to enjoy.
“It’s fun watching the band kids because they’ll go out on the track or if the field is dry they’ll sit on the field and you’ll have 100s of 100s of kids out there, which is neat,” Tlougan said.
Evolution of marching
Over the past 32 years the parade and the field show have changed.
When the classic first started the parade was just students marching and playing music, now Tlougan and Burns said the bands put on what seems to be a “short” show that they do in front of the judges for about 30 seconds to a minute.
Another change has been the use of props in both parades and in field shows. The field show used to be just kids on the field but now there are props and even props on wheels for the parades.
“It’s something that’s evolved over the years,” Burns said. “ You have to keep up with the times.”
New live streaming
New this year to the classic is live streaming of the parade and the field show. Both have always been recorded and given to the band directors for learning purposes, but with the retirement of the previous camera person the committee needed a new solution.
The committee was approached by a company out of Owatonna that will be recording the parade and the field show along with making it live online.
“No matter how they live stream it though, being there live is still the best because then you get to hear the full sound of those bands and you get to see the full width of the field,” Tlougan said. “...There’s no way to put that on video to see all the detail.”
One of the reasons for live streaming is for those family or friends who want to watch but are unable to be there in person or if the weather isn’t cooperating then they can still watch the performances.
A portion of the $10 charge from live streaming will go back to the Marching Classic fund that will be used to pay for the classic or at the end of the year some of the money will be given to the band boosters to use.