Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
After a school year without competitions, the golden hawk marching band took home the award for first in their class after the Muskie Marching Invitational last weekend.
Director David Kunz said it was the band’s first time at the competition in Muscatine.
“The Mid-Prairie High School Marching Band always used to go to the competition at Wilton High School, which was always the same weekend, and when the Wilton director retired, they ended that event,” Kunz said. “So I was trying to find something else for us to go to.”
While the Kunz said the band knew about this specific competition about a month in advance, they had been practicing for much longer than that.
“For me, it’s every day: what do we need to work on? What specific skills do we need to work on?” he said. “If I counted up every hour we’ve worked on this show … Eight weeks, times seven, that’s 56 hours of rehearsal, as a rough estimate.”
Kunz said it was important for the band to get a competition in before the state competition next weekend.
“I want my students to get practice competing, to get used to being judged,” he said. “It’s just part of the process of getting ready. Getting over the nerves of your first competition, or first event other than a home game is another level.”
The announcement was admittedly anticlimactic: Kunz said the competition ran late enough that they were already home by the time their win was announced. Nonetheless, he was overjoyed with the outcome.
“We improved a lot, I was thrilled, and I’m very proud that we got first and that we played really well,” he said. “Our scores for how we played the music clearly showed that we were the best band at 2A. Which is great, because as I tell my band the rest of the year, it’s about playing, it’s about making music, even during marching band season.”
As for the extra mile needed to take first in class 2A, Kunz said this year’s group was a cut above.
“This year’s band is a little bigger, I have great senior leadership,” he said. “And I have very good freshmen. The freshmen I have are prepared to play, they basically know how to sound good, and they ask questions. They’re not afraid to ask how to do something, they’re not afraid to speak up and ask, ‘How can I do this better?’ and that’s really important.”