SIOUX FALLS, SD -
When it comes to high school, it's often the athletes that get most of the attention and recognition for their hard work and wins.
But at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, there's another group that's being heard loud and clear.
"Lincoln’s band is definitely up there along with football teams and all the other sports," Senior Austin Murra said.
Murra is the drumline section leader. He keeps the tempos and speed of the band for all 238 members.
"It is a lot of work, we really put in a lot of hours for it," Kristian Asfeldt said.
Each one of the marching band members, including trumpet player and soloist Kristian Asfeldt, is under an extreme amount of pressure to perform to Lincoln band standards, which director Dan Carlson holds high.
"There’s a lot of demand on this program that has such a rich history," Carlson said.
With trophies and awards filling the shelves and walls in the band room, there's no doubt these kids have to work extra hard to maintain that tradition.
"Marching band has always been that thing that's not always the coolest part of the school, but at Lincoln a lot of success and a lot of great people they respect us in the same way we respect other sports," Murra said.
But, that success doesn't come easy. Those who want to march to the beat of this drum have to be ready to put in a lot of hours.
"They start actually in the summertime," Carlson said.
Their summer ended with sometimes eight hour days memorizing music and rehearsing the complicated steps.
Now, with school in session practices start early. As the sun is coming up, instruments are tuned and practice begins. Monday nights and Saturday's before competition are also required.
"They give up a lot to do this, but I think the reward is great as well, that's why they keep coming back," Carlson said.
"It’s kind of a routine, we understand all of the commitments and all of the time," Murra said.
In between the grueling practice schedule, the players keep up the tempo for the football players and get fans moving in the stands.
They also travel around the region putting their sound and moves up against the best of the best, in tense marching band competitions.
"My favorite thing about being in marching band is when you're at the competition and you have the last moment of your show and you just stop and the whole crowd starts cheering and going wild, it's really satisfying," Asfeldt said.
"It’s really like a theatrical production, there are just a lot of things that go into it," Carlson said.
That production has a lot of moving parts and may appear chaotic to some but, it's choreographed to a T to be anything but.
"Kind of the starburst move, where everything comes in to the middle and then shoots out, kind of pin wheels around," Carlson said.
Every member twists, turns and zigzags across the field with the hope.
"Not to fall, because I haven't fallen for four years, and I plan to keep it that way," Asfeldt said.
"It is a very taxing activity," Carlson said.
While sometimes physically exhausting, the thought of being a Lincoln Patriot Marching band member is a high note that keeps them moving to the beat.
"Our goal is to end it strong, get a couple more trophies and have a good time," Asfeldt said.
All that hard work you've been doing for months is finally kicking in, when you know you performed the best you can," Murra said.
Performing at their best is what has made them the best, and the band to beat.
"We’re pretty successful, I wouldn't want to be a part of any other organization," Murra said.
And that's what's keeping the Lincoln Band legacy alive.
So far this season, the band has won one competition in Sioux City. They took second place overall in Marshall.
This weekend is their big home competition with the Festival of Bands.
You can see them and several other bands in action Saturday starting with a parade down Main Street at 8:45 a.m. You can find more information at the Marching Band website
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