Brass section leader Jamie Thompson discusses individual and section goals before the VSHS band's performance at the State Festival.

Brass section leader Jamie Thompson discusses individual and section goals before the VSHS band’s performance at the State Festival.

The Vinton-Shellsburg Marching Band Regiment continued its string of Division 1 ratings on Saturday, when the band was among those receiving the top rating possible at the Iowa High School Music Association Marching Band Festival. The Festival takes place at several sites across Iowa; VSHS performs each year at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids.

Band Director Nick Waymire said the band’s performance on Saturday was not its best of the season, starting with some struggles to keep in rhythm in the first movement. But the musicians and marchers finished strong, and the Flag Corps team (which came within one point of the top-scoring flag corps a week earlier at the 5 Seasons Festival,

Flag Corps members practice their dance routine before the State Festival performance.

Flag Corps members practice their dance routine before the State Festival performance.

also held at Kingston Stadium) performed very well completing its routine which included a flag toss, which the girls completed despite a strong wind. Waymire credits new flag corps coach Danni Manning with her work with the squad. The flag corps routine includes a variety of flags as well as a short dance number.

“They have worked very hard this year, and it definitely shows,” adds Manning, a former flag corps member for the highly-honored Independence marching band.

“The Division 1 rating is a result of the work that the students have put in since the first day of band camp. The students have been focused in with daily, weekly, and season-long goals that have allowed rehearsals to be efficient and effective,” says Waymire. “Many people have noticed the improvement that the band has made between football games, but the truth is that they make noticeable improvement after every rehearsal. Our score has improved every week at our competitions, which is an objective justification of our hard work. I have had fun all marching Band season with these students and this show, and I cannot wait to get back to the field on Monday to continue our improvement before we go to Waukee for our last competition.”

Lauren Upmeyer's reflection is clearly visible in the drum of another VS percussion member as the band prepares for its State Festival performance.

Lauren Upmeyer’s reflection is clearly visible in the drum of another VS percussion member as the band prepares for its State Festival performance.

Once arriving outside Kingston Stadium, the band members divided into their

sections to tune instruments, warm up and prepare. Section leader Jamie Thompson asked brass section musicians to share their goals for themselves as individuals as well as the section. Manning led the flag corps in a short practice, and cautioned them about the wind.

Mr. Waymire dealt with a variety of minor instrument snafus, including one saxophone with some gunk under the key pads. Telling the musician the instrument needs a professional

Casey Funk and Lauren Upmeyer prepare with the VSHS band's percussion section before the State Festival.

Casey Funk and Lauren Upmeyer prepare with the VSHS band’s percussion section before the State Festival.

cleaning, Mr. Waymire attempted to perform a temporary fix, using a dollar bill to loosen some of the build-up.

The band ends its contest season next week at the Waukee Invitational. VS fans will have one more chance to see the band perform in Vinton, when they play their entire show one more time during half-time of the VS-Benton season finale on Oct. 21.

See photos of the band’s performance, as well as some of the members preparing for the contest, HERE.