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Marching Band kicks off season today

Seventy members of the Bemidji High School Marching Band rehearse in full uniform Wednesday afternoon as they prepare to compete in Benson today and perform in a parade in Virginia on Saturday. This year's routine offers more motion. The band will perform in Bemidji on July 1 during the Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI - "Compress" and "crunch" are two words that members of the Bemidji High School Marching Band heard often as they compressed a lot of work into a short time crunch for their season, which begins today as the band competes in Benson, Minn.

Whether it's been warm, cold, windy or drizzling, marching band members have been outside learning their routine, all in two weeks. In a season that lasts less than a month, they will perform in three competitions and three parades, concluding with the Fourth of July festivities in Pine River.

Bemidji's marching band has two veteran senior drum majors, Jack Boyer and Isaac Flaa. They know the routine backward and forward, and they move about the members giving important tips.

"We have a lot of new marchers; it looks like a promising year. Overall it's a good group," said Boyer. "We have a new routine, an exciting two new Japanese folk songs from Sakura, 'Canto' and 'Methuselah.' The songs are rolled into one with very theatrical drum usage."

This marks the 10th summer season for director Derek Wickum.

"Some schools practice year round -- we condense everything in one month," Wickum said. "Our kids have summer jobs. They deserve to have a summer. Every year we add more, push further, to get closer to the powerhouse schools, really focusing in on school our sizes. It seems each summer we do the best show we can achieve,"

Bemidji residents will see the BHS Marching Band in motion July 1 during the Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival.