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The band is back for Adams Dairy Days

Sydney Bendtsen warms up with others in the Southland High School drum line before lining up for the Adams Dairy Days parade Sunday.

ADAMS — They did a marching weave; they made a rattling, rumbling noise; they laughed; they decked themselves out in powder blue headbands; they played each other's drums.

The band was back.

For five years, the annual Adams Dairy Days Parade has had no marching band unit from Southland High School.

For Julia Heimer, who will be a Southland senior next fall, that was unacceptable.

"The town talked," she said. People were disappointed — where was the local high school band in the town's own parade?


"The parade was dead without music," she said.

Heimer calls herself a "band geek" who wants to be a band director some year. "I figured I might as well do as much as I can in high school."

Late in the past school year, she asked other members of the marching band if they wanted to march in Sunday's parade. She got enough students to say yes to at least put together a marching drum line. So an hour before the 1 p.m. parade start, she and 12 others were in the band room, all dressed in Southland Pep Band T-shirts and putting on powder blue bandannas, both as a fashion statement and sweatband.

Band director Amalie Niethammer said they would march for 20 to 30 minutes, playing "Genesis," "Drums and Roses" and "Zombie Squirrel." Some were in percussion in the marching band, some had to be trained on the drums or cymbals. The band had students from both middle and high schools.

"I think it encouraged bonding between the students," she said. "It's a great musical experience for them."

The students practiced three to four hours a day for a week or two to not only play but also do a weave as they marched, toss drum sticks back and forth and play each other's drums. Marching and playing drums is one of the hardest things to do because there's a different rhythm in marching and beating the drum, she said. Also, they have no breaks in playing.

Besides playing different instruments, there was one other major change — they didn't have to wear full uniforms. In Sunday's heat, "we would probably have a few pass out," she said. The bass drum weighs about 20 pounds.

Not wearing a uniform was great with Kelvin Landherr, who graduated this spring. Playing the bass was even better because he normally plays tuba, which is even heavier and sits on his shoulders. In Sunday's strong winds, the tuba would have been a brass sail, he said.


He volunteered to play in the drum line after he dropped his sister, Tess Landherr, off at band practice and heard about the parade. Sign me up, he said. He wants to major in music at Winona State University next fall.

He also remembers the parade as a youth when he would stand on the side of the street and watch the high school band march by. He especially liked the bass drum, it sounded like a heart beating.

Because the marching band was absent for several years, "I never got a chance to play in the parade," he said.

On Sunday, he did.

"I think this is important," Landherr said. "We're coming back."

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