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BHS band hits the road to support teams at state tournaments

Bemidji High School football fans cheer on the Lumberjacks in the quarterfinal round of the Class 4-A tournament against Spring Lake Park at St. Cloud. BHS won the game 24-6, see story page 7. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

It has been a busy few days for the Bemidji High School sports fans, but no boosters have had a schedule any more hectic than that of the high school band.

"Our plan has always been to travel to the first round of the state volleyball tournament, but we couldn't make it Thursday because we had our band concert Thursday night," Band Director Derek Wickum said. "But Friday at 5:45 a.m., we hit the bus and headed to the Xcel Center."

The Lumberjacks band was in perfect tune Friday and their contributions added to everyone's positive state tournament experience.

After the match, the band and many other BHS sports fans headed north for the state quarterfinal football game at St. Cloud State.

"It just worked out that the volleyball and football teams were both playing at state on the same day," Wickum said, "so we decided to make a day of it."

Playing at state tournaments is a reward for the students who are members of the band and Wickum said that his musicians enjoy the experience.

"I think the band adds interest and enthusiasm to the sports teams and playing at the state tournament is a reward for all of the work the band members put in," Wickum said. "We also have band members who are on the football and the volleyball teams, so we are here to support our own."

In addition to the band, many parents and Jacks sports fans made the trip to both state venues on Friday. Among them was Kevin Falldorf, who donned the Bemidji football pads in the late 1980s and graduated in 1988.

"Our daughter Emily was on the junior varsity volleyball team this year and I wanted to take her to the state tournament to gain the experience," Falldorf said. "I also enjoy watching the players and the coaches compete at this high level. And I want my kids to see how the game is supposed to be played."

Aspiring Lumberjack Graem Fenson also was at Friday's football game along with his parents Roxie and Pete Fenson. Graem was proud of every Lumberjack, but he was especially proud of his brother, Alex.

"We go to all of the games, even the ones on the road," 12-year-old Graem said. "I like watching the team because they are exciting. I like everybody, but Alex is my favorite."

His father, Pete, is accustomed to the spotlight through his curling exploits, but he is enjoying being a fan in the stands instead of the man of the hour.

"This is a new experience for sure, but it is a lot of fun just being in the stands," Fenson said. "From our standpoint as parents and fans, we appreciate the leadership of the seniors and the coaches. I know Alex is having a great time and so are we."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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