Sioux Falls Lincoln's band legend is hanging it all up this year.
Teams work hard. No one knows that more than these kids, 245 brothers and sisters joined by the music they play; propped up by their successful leader.
“I've done four Vikings games and one Green Bay Packers game. We've played at state Bandmasters competition six times in my career,” Lincoln High School director Bob Carlson said.
Band has been Carlson's lifetime passion. It's taken him everywhere and Bob Carlson will tell you that when you love something so much, sometimes it's hard to say goodbye.
“It's something I've loved my whole life. It's my only life. It's all I've ever done is be a band director,” Bob Carlson said.
For 44 years, Bob Carlson has molded marchers in this region.
“It's been a real treat to watch him be so successful and be part of the band family of the Carlson’s, I guess," his son Dan said, who has worked by his father’s side at Lincoln High School for more than ten years. “It's been like I've been a student-teacher for the last 14 years. He's been a great mentor for me and we get along great.”
“His philosophy and has taken some flack on this and maybe hasn't won every competition, is that everybody plays,” Bob’s other son, Kevin said.
Dan Carlson writes the band's drills and directs Lincoln's other bands. Kevin Carlson also helps design drills. After this year, both Bob's sons will have to go it alone.
“This is his homage send off, swan song. It really is,” Kevin Carlson said.
And what a send off this year’s field show is. After 44 years, the band's final show number is a personal favorite, Frank Sinatra's “My Way.”
It caps off a storied career and ends a family affair as someone else readies to take the baton, maybe even a son.
“I feel like I've been blessed. I really do. I can't complain a bit,” Bob Carlson said.
Bob Carlson taught in Pipestone for years before moving to Sioux Falls and working with his son.
Lincoln High School will join nearly 30 other bands Saturday for the annual Festival of Bands parade and field competition.