Landoll Family Sports Complex welcomes ‘Marching with the Pride’

 

Submitted by Wayne Kruse

Although the Landoll Family Sports Complex at Marysville High School is usually festooned in red and black, the school’s colors, vibrant shades of purple and white will be the dominant colors on Friday, Aug. 19. Under the direction of Dr. Frank Tracz, the 450 members of the Kansas State University Marching Band will spend the afternoon and evening on the Pat Landoll Memorial Field to lead “Marching with the Pride.” Nearly 400 local band students will join the marching Wildcats to have a hands-on approach to learn band techniques. 

The event is sponsored by the Marshall County Arts Cooperative and Landoll Company.

Throughout the day, college professors and students will work with junior high and high school band students on playing, marching techniques and learning the fundamentals of performance.

At 7 p.m. there will be a public performance featuring the K-State Marching Band and all members of the local school bands. 

Bands from the following schools have been invited to participate: Axtell, Blue Valley, Centralia, Clay Center, Clifton-Clyde, Frankfort, Hanover, Linn, Marysville, Nemaha Central, Onaga, Riley County, Rock Creek, Sabetha, Troy, Valley Heights, Wamego, Washington and Wetmore. Over 200 band students have already signed up.

Having played the piccolo since she was in the marching band at Beatrice High School, Colette Ottens, a board member for the arts cooperative, suggested the idea to the group.

“After high school, I went on to play in the Cornhusker Marching Band, and the incredible sound difference of a band of eighty versus a band of two hundred fifty was enough to give me goosebumps just playing the warm-up scales,” Ottens said.

While in college at the University of Nebraska, Ottens got to experience a week-long band camp that ended in an exhibition show.

“At the exhibition, we would play warm ups, show off our marching and listening skills, play the halftime show and end with pregame music,” said Ottens. “It was mostly parents that attended in those years, but the exhibition has grown to be an event for freshman orientation. Now, it fills half the stadium the last time I attended.”

When the board members for the arts cooperative were brainstorming ideas for potential arts events, it occurred to Ottens it would be a draw to have the Kansas State University Marching Band do an exhibition show in Marshall County.

“There are many fans that would enjoy listening, parents of band students that might come from out of town to see their child and it might excite school-aged kids into staying in band so they could be a part of something like the Marching Pride,” said Ottens.

The arts cooperative gave Ottens permission to pursue the idea; she contacted Dr. Frank Tracz, K-State’s director of bands. Within twenty-four hours, Tracz replied with an affirmative response coupled with a suggestion.

“Dr. Tracz suggested making it a band day and inviting area bands to participate,” said Ottens. “Initially, our concept was to invite just the schools in Marshall County, but he encouraged us to make it bigger and bigger.”

According to Tracz, the high school bands will participate with the K-State Marching Band in warm ups, stretching, tuning, playing and marching skills. There will be large band sessions and small, instrumental sectionals led by the college’s student leaders and band staff. Tracz will also present a leadership clinic to all of the band’s student leaders.

The clinic will culminate in a mass band performance with all high school bands joining the Marching Wildcats for a grand finale at 7 p.m. in the stadium. The public is invited.

“The audience can expect to see a large band of almost eight hundred musicians on the field performing some great music and enjoying all things music and band,” Tracz said. “There will be some great musical entertainment including our color guard, twirlers, Classy Cats and all high school units performing in front of the band. There will be great opportunities for videos and pictures.”

To present an arts event of this caliber, the cooperative knew it needed to reach out for additional support. Having partnered with Landoll Company on other large arts projects, the arts cooperative approached long-time arts supporter Don Landoll, president of Landoll Company, to co-sponsor the event.

Since the Landoll family made it possible in 2021 for the junior-senior high school to install new artificial turf on the football field and add a state-of-the-art video scoreboard, it seemed like a natural partnership.

“With the addition of the turf field, this fills another occasion for use,” Landoll said. “It is being used all year for track, football, physical education, science, band practice and football jamborees. This is just a new way to share it with the larger community and come together to celebrate our area and our youth.”

Since Landoll has employees from nearly sixty zip codes, it provided another reason to partner with the company. With bands from within a sixty-mile radius of Marshall County being invited to participate, Landoll felt it brought all the locations they work with together to see the area youth perform.

“Our community is diverse,” Landoll said. “We have those who enjoy the fair and livestock, sports and the arts. The options are limitless. This event is just filling in another spot of interest. We want to donate and share with all phases in the community. From the churches, library, dog park, agricultural education, and nature – this is just another group.”

Having played clarinet and bass clarinet in the Marysville High School band, Paula Landoll Smith, marketing manager for Landoll Company, was supportive of the project from the start. Because she experienced the benefits of being a part of the marching band, she was enthusiastic to partner with the cooperative.

“Music education teaches you to work together,” said Smith. “You may have your own things going on, but you’ve got to pay attention to what is going on around you. It is proven music improves math skills and test scores. Imagine what life would be without music in the car, on the radio, in the movies – life would be pretty ‘blah,’ shall we say.”

For more information about the event, people may contact the arts cooperative at 785-859-4260.

Other sponsors include Blue Valley Technologies, Marysville Community Foundation, Pony Express Catbackers, United Bank and Trust and the USD 364 Foundation.

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