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Thousands March And Play It Out

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The 25th annual Festival of the Bands took place all Saturday in Sioux Falls. Thousands of high school students from four different states showed of their musical and marching skills to judges at Howard Wood Field.  

Forty-one bands from Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota showed off their marching, drumming, dancing and wind instrument skills.

"We've got about 4,300 students participating. I think they came in on 90 buses with 50 some trailers worth of equipment,” said Sandy Frentz, the chair of the 2012 Festival of the Bands.

Sandy Frentz, the chair of the 2012 Festival of the Bands, said the competition was set up by the four high schools in Sioux Falls to create another way for marching bands to get more experience playing in front of a crowd.

"Music is a lifelong experience. And we are hoping with the college bands here that the high school students can see there is a music career in their future,” said Frentz.

The competition is also about learning.

"We frame it as a growth experience so they can learn and go back and grow even better as they proceed throughout the rest of their season,” said Ann Marie Davis, Sioux Falls School District Representative for Festival of the Bands.
And it is also creating a way to keep the arts thriving in Sioux Falls.

"All of the proceeds of Saturday's event go the four high school's marching band programs in Sioux Falls, to help continue their growth and development.

" It varies a bit from year to year, but certainly several hundred dollars goes back to each band,” said Davis
As the bands get their 15 minutes of fame in front of thousands, coordinators look forward to seeing what the future will bring for these aspiring musicians.
“The event has just continued to grow over time and it has certainly met their goal of providing other opportunities for students,” said Davis.
The ten highest scoring bands began competing in the finals at 6 p.m. Organizers said it attracts nearly 10,000 visitors to the area.
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