Marching bands to vie for state title Saturdayby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
High School marching bands from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and South Dakota will vie for a number of awards during an all-day competition at the Metrodome Saturday.
St. Paul, Minn. — The "Youth in Music" competition, as it's called, features 17 bands. Eleven of them are from Minnesota, and those 11 will be in their own competition for the state championship.
This is just the fourth year for the Youth in Music event, but organizer Brent Turner says it's already established itself as the competition that awards Minnesota's best.
"Four years ago, Minnesota didn't have a state championship, per se," noted Turner. "A lot of the bands had always wanted something that was kind of a final event for the state of Minnesota. A lot of the surrounding states have structures in place -- Wisconsin, for example, and Iowa."
Turner says he hopes more Minnesota schools can be part of the competition in future years. He adds it's hard for some schools, like Marshall, to send bands to competitions this time of year because many band members also play on the football team -- and it's also the height of playoff time for football.
Rosemount High School from the south metro has already won the title twice in the competition's brief history.
The school's band director Leon Seive says marching band performances have evolved a lot in the past decade.
"It used to be you picked three songs -- your opener, your ballad, and your closer -- and they sometimes didn't relate to each other. Now, everything has to relate to each other."
Seive says Saturday's competition will be tough. The other Minnesota schools competing are Minnetonka, Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Worthington, Champlin Park, Waseca, Pipestone, Eden Prairie, and Eastview.
The event also marks the end of the competitive season for most of the bands.
Performances start 11:30 a.m. and continue through the evening show, which starts at 7:30. The University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire marching bands will also perform, though not as part of the competition.