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Stepping off toward success: Preview show kicks off competition season

The 2018 Raiders Marching Band will present its preview show 30 p.m. Sept. 5 at Todd Field. Kari Layland Photography

With fall just around the corner, the Hastings High School Marching Band is kicking into high gear in preparation for its competition season.

After a summer of hard work and long practices, band members are ready to show off their movements in their 2018 Preview Show.

The performance, titled "Stagecoach," will be 6:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at Todd Field.

The event is free and provides an opportunity for parents and anyone in the community to see what the band has been working on for the past few months.

Every summer, members of the marching band go through a week of intense training at band camp. After camp, practice continues four hours twice a week.

"One of my favorite parts is seeing people form relationships," Ben Wentzler, drum major, said. "They spend all day together, and new friendships form. It's really cool to be a part of."

Most rewarding, Wentzel said, is to see how the band progresses throughout the season, and to see the successes along the way.

Senior, tenor sax player and section leader Jacob Talley said he also finds appreciation in the band's improvements during the season.

"My favorite part is working really hard beforehand and getting success later. So like, working really hard, putting all this time in even though it's grueling and exhausting, but then finding success in our shows. It's a really good feeling you get when all time you put into something really pays off," Talley said.

For the actual performance, Talley's favorite part is getting reactions from the crowd.

"When we have big-hit moments or really powerful moments in our show, either our story is being portrayed really well or we are just marching incredibly well, something that the audience doesn't expect and we get really cool reactions," Talley said. "It's the same with the preview show. Getting to see the reactions from our hometown is nice. It's more positive usually. After doing the preview show, we get a good feeling for what the rest of the season is going to be like."

The band will compete in five events this season, which runs from the beginning of September to mid-October. The five competitions includes the final competition at U.S. Bank Stadium which will be held on Oct. 13.

Currently, the band holds the title of Class A Minnesota State Champions, a title the marching Raiders have won four times at the Youth in Music Marching Band Championships.

"It was such an amazing thing to walk through the hallway were the football players come out of. Getting to perform at U.S. Bank Stadium is an amazing experience," Keziyah Galland, a junior and member of the colorguard, said.

This year marks the 26th year of competition for the Raiders Marching Band.