Drumming Up Interest


It’s going to be a reunion like no other; one that is going to be loud and proud. 

Next month hundreds of former band members from Lincoln High School will gather in Sioux Falls to pick up their instruments one more time and perform together at the first ever all-band reunion. 

For over 40 years, the Lincoln High School Marching Band has been known as one of the best around.

“I wanted the program to be comprehensive, which included concert, jazz and marching band,” Dave Haugen said. 

Haugen was the band director in the 1970’s and 80’s.  He’s credited with taking the Lincoln High School marching band to a higher note.  

“We did these trips every three years, so all the kids got to experience travel to other parts of the country besides the Midwest,” Haugen said. 

Those trips were competitions that helped them make it on national television at the Rose Parade and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

The more they played the more popular they got and participation picked up too. 

“It gradually grew because of the success we were having they were willing to make that kind of commitment which was very nice,” Haugen said. 

Just as committed to the program was longtime band director Bob Carlson. 

“That was one of the reasons I was so excited to come to Lincoln, because of that reputation,” Carlson said. 

Carlson was the director for 14 years.  Rather than toot his own horn about how good the band was, his philosophy focused on something else.   

“The one thing I always told the kids is that we are in the people business not in the trophy business. It’s really all about people and relationships and we want to be good citizens so I’d really try to instill that, the trophies would come if we worked collectively we would become the best,” Carlson said. 

Sam Anderson was one of those band members, now he’s the assistant director.  His fondest memory was his trip to the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Such an amazing experience for a young kid and go to the big city and on the big stage and to perform like that it was just a real unique experience,” Anderson said. 

An experience shared by many, even some who weren’t band members. 

Don Jorgenson:  Any truth that some of the people who marched in these parades actually didn’t play instruments? 

Bob Carlson: Yeah that’s true there were some who didn’t play instruments we call them hole fillers actually 

You see in order to march in some of those big time events on national television, you have to have so many members.  

“So we’d ask our students do you have any friends who maybe used to be in band or just like to be a part of it we’ll just have them hold the instrument have them basically fake it so we have that spot filled so we don’t march with a hole and be penalized and every year we’d have 4 or 5 hole fillers in the band,” Carlson said. 

But they had to be at every early morning practice and learn the routines just like the regular band members did. 

Now former band members and yes even the ‘hole fillers’ have been invited back for one weekend in August to celebrate. 

“I was director for 14 years, I definitely think I should be there,” Carlson said. 

They hope to drum up enough interest where they can hopefully make this more than a one time event. 

“It’ll be fun to see some people when I was in the band, maybe people I haven’t seen in a long time. But I also look forward to seeing some of those who did come before and see them come back and enjoy that again, and maybe pick up their instrument and join in and play along. I think that’ll be a neat experience,” Anderson said. 

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to see a lot of folks we haven’t seen in many years,” Haugen said. 

The Lincoln High School All-Band Reunion is Aug. 10-11.  Friday night they’ll play the school fight song and all five former directors plan to be there. 

If you would like to learn more about the reunion and maybe participate click here.

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