Last week, students from the St. Cloud schools, as well as a few from Paynesville, camped out in the middle school gym for their All-Area marching band camp. For an entire week, the students practiced intensively to prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead.
A few years ago, the St. Cloud School District cut marching band from the budgets of several public and parochial schools. Disappointed and concerned parents met and formed the St. Cloud All-Area Marching Band so their children wouldn't miss out on a marching band experience.
Last year, Ken Vork, Paynesville Area Middle School Band director, directed the band, but decided to take this summer off. Since Mara had written the show last year, he was asked to take over directing for this summer's program.
Mara, who played trumpet with various marching bands during his younger years, wrote letters to various cities in Minnesota, asking if the marching band could perform in their city's parade. Because of the bands reputation, they were asked by many cities to be part of their parades.
The band will march in more than 10 parades, including Stillwater and Rochester, but perhaps the largest and most exciting will be the original Fourth of July parade in Boston, Mass., which is often broadcast throughout the country on television. The St. Cloud All-Area Marching Band is primarily funded through donations, fund raisers, and a band member flat fee.
Band members from Paynesville are: Andrew Brick, Nathan Olmscheid, Janell Schefers, Kim Colbert, Meagan Nyffeler, Erin Vork, Elizabeth McCarney, Kelly Loesch, Melissa Schneider, Jessica Heinen, and Heidi Burg.
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