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Eighty high school students are musical ambassadors for school and community

The Hastings High School student parking lot was the practice field for the 80-member marching band summer camp last week. (Star Gazette photo by Jane Lightbourn)

For hours last week, sometimes in almost unbearably hot and humid air, 80 Hastings High School students moved quickly throughout the school's student parking lot.

The school's marching band was holding its summer camp, and its members were learning the music and steps for the team's upcoming shows and competition this fall season. The preview show is Wednesday, Sept. 5, at third year in the marching band. He is having a great time.

"I joined the band through my sister, who said it was super cool and awesome and I've loved it," he said. "I enjoy doing all the marching stuff."

It is also the third year for Jacob Nowlan. He said much of his time at the high school is spent in the music area.

"It is all I do," he said. Nowlan plays percussion in the band.

"I have a purpose to be loud," he said.

Shelby Baker is one of the new members this year. She is a member of the color guard, the group waving the flags and colors for the band at each show.

"I've been in dance and thought this would be fun," she said.

Laura Lunde plays the tuba in the band. She is learning how to handle the heavy instruments as she also moves to the music.

She previously was in the Prescott marching band and figured this would be a good transition.

"People are so amazing," she said. "Everyone is a friend."

Elizabeth Hardy has always liked watching marching bands. Now in her fourth year with the band, she is the drum major.

"I thought it would be a good way to be introduced to the high school," she said. "The people are great."

And when the show is under way and everything clicks, "it is amazing, so cool," said Hardy.

This is the 20th year Hastings High School has had a competitive marching band, said director Emily Chandler. She has been with the program for about five years.

The band truly represents the school and the community, she said.

"There are few groups which represent Hastings -- these kids are ambassadors for the town and it reflects the strong instrumental program at Hastings High School," she said.

Members volunteer their time. All skills are welcomed, and students must be part of a band or orchestra at the high school. Uniforms are provided, as is transportation to shows and competitions. Students do pay fees for other expenses.

As part of the program, the marching band presents shows (this year's theme is "The Ascent") at home football games and participates in competitions on Saturdays through the middle of October.

This summer, the group's field trip took them to Colorado for several shows. They created additional memories on the return trip when one of the buses broke down. Students on that bus spent an extra night in Colorado and the Hastings Bus Company paid for the extra costs, Chandler said. She praised the driver, Ian Martin, for his handling of the situation.

This summer, too, Chandler and fellow director Tom Wentzler also had three "Super Seniors" involved. Nick Junker, Chase Fasbender and Chris Lynch have graduated, but participated in the summer programs.

Chandler praised their leadership and their mentorship for some of the younger band members.

Others assisting with the marching band this year are Josh Wahlstrom and Joe Holmes, percussion; Kimi Schillinger and Amanda Flom, color guard; and Jake Bohlken and Megan Moynihan, visual staff.