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Lakeville South High School’s Marching Band Takes Top Honors

By Neil Strader, 09/28/16, 8:00AM CDT

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Lakeville South High School’s marching band has taken top honors in a competition with a show intended to help fight cancer.

The band took first place in the Waseca Marching Classic AAA division in the parade category, and second place in the AAA division for field competition. The band also earned the Parade People’s Choice award for their parade.

At the end of the daylong competition, the band also earned the Herb Streitz Spirit Award, which is given to one band in the competition each year that exemplifies the pride, spirit, enthusiasm, friendliness and unity desired in all high school band performers.

Members of the Lakeville South Marching Band pose in front of the school.

Members of the Lakeville South Marching Band pose in front of the school. The band earned recognition for its parade and field shows Sept. 17 in the Waseca Marching Classic.

“The Lakeville South Marching Band is not a competitive marching band, and we don’t rehearse on a competitive schedule,” said director Chad Bieniek. “Many of the students expressed interest in entering a competition this summer.”

Bands can enter competitions to be judged or in exhibition, Bieniek said. He chose to have the band enter to be judged to gain constructive feedback on what they are doing well and where they need to improve.

A total of eight bands from Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota took part in the 29th annual competition in Waseca.

Students said they were proud of their accomplishments.

“Going to our first competition was a ton of fun,” said senior Emily Weyandt, one of the drum majors. “It really helped boost our confidence as a band and now we know what we need to improve for next year! I can’t wait to see what South can do in the years to come.”

Freshman Maddie Toombs said she was super proud of what our band was able to accomplish last weekend.”

“It didn’t matter to me that we won first place in AAA for the parade competition or second place in AAA for the field show,” Toombs said. “What mattered to me is that we won the two “hype” awards, as we call them. One of the best things that our band can do is pump people up for what’s to come. I’m looking forward to what we can do in the future.”

Lakeville South Principal Dr. John Braun said they are proud of the band and its accomplishments.

Although the band’s show officially is titled “Music of Beethoven,” its theme is around fighting cancer with the American Cancer Society. The show was created to reflect how cancer affects all families. Students recorded stories of how cancer has affected their families and those stories were shared during the performance. The show ended with cancer survival stories and large pink flags symbolizing the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign, while the band performed Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

In July, Bieniek was asked to be one of nine Real Men Wear Pink ambassadors in for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign. The band’s efforts to support the campaign will end Oct. 15 during the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, where they will perform at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Chad Bieniek, director of the Lakeville South Marching Band, is serving as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Cancer campaign.

The Lakeville South band was given a standing ovation at the Waseca Marching Classic as they exited the field and marched to the stands.

“The kids felt extremely proud of what they accomplished,” Bieniek said. “Their positive energy was obvious to the judges, the fans and me. When students feel success and are energized by it, that fuels me as a teacher.”

Bieniek described the competition as a good learning experience for the students, adding they received constructive feedback.

This is Bieniek’s second year as band director at Lakeville South High School.

Lakeville South Activities Director Neil Strader said he’s seen tremendous growth in the band in the last year.

“They’ve never looked better on the field,” Strader said, noting the dedication and work ethic of the band members really shows. “Those kids want to get to that next level and they’re willing to invest the time and effort to get there. “It’s really neat to see the intrinsic motivation they have.”

Anyone interested in seeing the band can watch performances during the Lakeville South Cougar Football team’s home games on Sept. 23, Sept. 30 and Oct. 19. The band also will hold their Indoor Marching Band Concert Oct. 18 at Lakeville High School.