Letter to the Editor

Sounding off about great support

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

On Sunday, Oct. 11, I had the good fortune to drive down from the Twin Cities in Minnesota to provide some feedback to the Spirit Lake High School Marching Band and their staff. Currently in my 36th year of public school teaching as a high school band director, I have had the opportunity to both compete with and adjudicate a large number of marching bands in the Midwest. It has been so sad to see what this pandemic has done to high school activities, with some sports being limited to few or no spectators and marching competitions canceled altogether.

After visiting Spirit Lake, I can clearly see where the "Spirit" comes from. I was blown away by the energy, passion and level of excellence displayed by every band member out on the field! In a time when marching programs have been either cut or severely limited in the scope of their performance, the Spirit Lake High School band program has found a way to fully implement a complete performance while at the same time not compromising the safety of its members.

I would like to first congratulate the students, especially the senior class and student leadership team. It would have been easy to walk away from marching band during a pandemic. Your commitment to your band program, your school and your community is exemplary. Your defining legacy will be that, in the years after you graduate, the Spirit Lake Marching Band will thrive because of your leadership.

To Mr. Pedersen and the Marching Band staff I say BRAVO! Setting a high bar of success for your students and helping them meet and exceed those expectations will help them become successful adults. You have helped these students achieve excellence in the most challenging of times. To the parents of the band members, thank you for supporting your children and the band staff so enthusiastically. Finally, thank you to the high school administration team. Programs of great success do not happen by accident. It does take a village to raise and support our children, and your support is more important than you could ever know.

Congratulations to your marching band! This program, its staff and its students are a credit to your community. You have something very special!


Steven Lyons

Tri-State Band Judges