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Pep band is showing school spirit at many athletic events

Park Rapids Area High School band director Jared Larson rehearses with the concert band. These students are also part of the pep band, which has played at many sporting events this school year. (Anna Erickson/Enterprise)

The pep band at Park Rapids Area High School is full of enthusiasm this year.

"It really shows this year," said director Jared Larson. "They're really excited to be playing."

The pep band plays at many school events, especially football, basketball and hockey games. Students have also performed at swimming and wrestling meets.

"We're willing to play any number of places," Larson said.

Larson has taught band for three years in Park Rapids. He teaches at Century Middle School as well as the high school.

The high school concert band, which meets during the last hour of the school day, is also the pep band.

"For pep band we play more of the popular music and concert band has more traditional pieces," Larson said.

He's heard a lot of praise for the pep band this year.

"You can just really tell when they enjoy it," he said. "I try to convey that this music is supposed to be fun."

Several students in the high school concert band have been playing their instrument since elementary school.

Ronnie Barnett, a sophomore, plays the trumpet.

"My family, we all play music," he said. "I wanted to play because my dad, my relatives, all play."

He grew up listening to Louie Armstrong and has continued playing because he enjoys music.

"I don't really care what kind of music," Barnett said. "I like it all."

He plays in the concert band, pep band and also plays in solos and small groups.

He plans to continue playing music and wants to try other instruments. Barnett has played the trombone and guitar besides trumpet. He would like to play tuba as well.

He likes playing at sporting events and cheering for the home team. Everyone should try a musical instrument, he adds.

"If you enjoy music, poetry, it's so much fun," he said. "And you get into the sporting events for free."

Sean Hayes, a senior, plays the alto saxophone. He and Caleb Atkins sit next to each other and have always played well together.

"I love music," Hayes said. "Music helps in so many different areas."

In addition to concert band and pep band, Hayes takes an independent study class with Larson where he works on music theory and transposing music.

He is also working on a solo and plays in a quartet.

Hayes and others are practicing this week for a concert.

Larson is preparing his high school concert band students for a concert Monday, Feb. 8. It is slated for 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561