Marching bands fill State Fair with sights and sounds

Published: Aug. 31, 2018 at 2:12 PM CDT
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Of the many sights and sounds of the Nebraska State Fair, it's the unmistakable cadence of the drums and blare of the horns of high school marching bands that provide much of the background music. Bands from across the state take turns marching through the grounds.

Local4"s Russ Batenhorst visited with Wood River High School band directors Brian Leisher and Beverly Wiebe-Brown about the experience. Here's how that conversation went:

Russ B: Hey, that's right, thanks a lot. You know there are a lot of sights and sounds...and smells of the State Fair. But, one of them that really sticks out sometimes is the sounds of a marching band. The State Fair is a great place for high schools all across the state to bring their marching band here, march down the midday, march down the exhibit way and put on a great show. I'm with Brian Leisher and Beverly Wiebe-Brown from the Wood River band. They marched here at the State Fair. Brian, how much fun is it to bring your band here to the State Fair?

Brian Leisher: This is great. It's a fun way to start our year. The kids love it. They get time to enjoy themselves, but yet we get to show the hard work we've done to start out the year.

RB: Beverly, I know you guys will have some more serious outings later in the fall. is this one just way more casual for you?

Beverly Wiebe-Brown: It's much more casual. But, the kids were just so nervous this morning. They were just crazy in the band room. But, it just such a great opportunity for them to get started and then it makes the serious stuff even more serious and more important.

RB: Are these your parade songs, or do you do shows too? What are you working on?

BL: We don't do shows a whole lot. Hopefully, we getting there. We are strictly parade songs and a couple of them are pep band songs we pull out here to have fun with. The kids decide on some of that and I decide on some of that.

RB: How'd the kids do today, Beverly?

BWB: Well, I think they did pretty well. I took some pictures and for no more marching experience than they've had, they did pretty well.

RB: Do you sneak a look at other bands while you're here too Brian?

BL: Of course you sneak a look at other bands. That's the competition. But, no, it's so fun. It's actually one of the few times we actually get to see other teachers at school. So, (we) enjoy getting to sit down with other teachers, get a cup of coffee or a lemondade or a turkey leg with them.

RB: Or a funnel cake or anything with them. I tell you what Beverly, the other thing I really enjoy about seeing things like this - I'm a chronic band dad, you know it never gets out of your blood as a band dad - I love seeing the parents marching along/

BWB: We had a nice group of parents and grandparents following up today. They were just so proud of their students and that's what it's all about.

RB: Alright Brian, how much more time do the kids have and do you think they're all going to make it to the bus?

BL: We hope they all make it to the bus, and we have probably about three hours. They get time to go have fun and get some quality fried food.

RB: If you come to the State Fair all throughout the weekend, there will be marching bands around. Stop and listen to them. These kids work hard. They have a great time. It's the sights, it's the sounds of the Nebraska State Fair. A big part of it.

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