Eye on KELOLAND: Brandon Valley marching to Florida


BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — The Brandon Valley Marching Lynx are getting ready for a Christmas to remember.

Members of the band are shuffling around their holiday plans because they’ll be boarding buses for Florida on Christmas night.

These harmonizing high schoolers are getting in plenty of rehearsal time with a trip to the Camping World Bowl football game on the line.

“The cold and me don’t get along. I’m really excited to go down to Florida where it’s a lot warmer for a couple of days. It will be really nice,” Fray said.

Senior Shelby Fray plays clarinet. She says a break from school sounds great and so will their performance. 118 members of the Brandon Valley Marching Lynx will take the field with several other schools at halftime. The football game on December 28 features Notre Dame and Iowa State.

“Just the sound that 800 people will have and then we have really good music. So I think it will come off really well,” Fray said.

“We’re leaving Christmas night. Get to be there for about six days and come back New Year’s Eve,” Nettestad said.

Band Director Tyler Nettestad says the roughly 24-hour bus ride will be worth it. He and the kids have been relentlessly working on the mashup of songs they’ll play at Camping World Stadium.

“I think there’s about 15 other bands there. They’ll put us all on the field. We’ll get to rehearse together. There will be a lot of kids on the field. The biggest marching band you’ve probably ever seen,” Nettestad said.

It will be a fun reward for all their hard work and bassoon and saxophone player Landon Smith plans on taking full advantage.

“It’s going to be nice to get out of the South Dakota weather. Hopefully get a tan,” (laughing) Smith said.

While he plans on doing his best, Smith says being in the band is a welcome distraction from life’s struggles.

“And it’s really relaxing to come in here and play during a stressful time in my life, I guess,” Smith said.

From tough courses to applying for college scholarships, high school can be daunting.

“I’m in a lot of college classes this year. So it’s really stressful and that sort of thing. It’s nice to be able to come in here and be in a positive environment where you can just play music,” Fray said.

Their director agrees. Nettestad actually went to Brandon Valley himself and played trumpet in the band in this same room. He’s been back in town in his current job for two years.

“Definitely one of the best experiences of my high school career to be in the band here. I just loved band and that’s why I’m back here again,” Nettestad said.

Being able to offer kids a musical outlet is hard to beat and this group plans to arrive to a lot of fanfare when they take the field in Orlando.

“It will be big and loud and fun,” Nettestad said.

After all, this type of performance is their forte.

On top of performing during the game, the kids will get to make trips to Cocoa Beach and Universal Orlando. The Brandon Valley Marching Lynx take one big trip like this every four years.

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