Park band performs for its biggest venue yet

Students plays during the Minnesota Swarm Lacrosse home-opener

Ivy Kaplan

From an auditorium at the high school and an audience composed of family and community members, to the Xcel Energy Center and 10,000 fans in the stands, Park band members are preparing for a different type of performance than they are used to.

The high school band performed at the home-opening game for the Minnesota Swarm lacrosse team on Jan. 19. Their performance included multiple songs from their pep-band selection to entertain audience members throughout the game.

According to band director Steve Schmitz, the band was offered this opportunity by the Swarm because of the success the current program has encountered.

“We got a phone call out of the blue in October, and they said ‘You know, we’ve heard good things about the direction your program is going and so we’d like to have your high school band play at one of our lacrosse games’,” Schmitz said.

Kristi Stanton, Account Executive for the Minnesota Swarm, said St. Louis Park was chosen for the performance after being recommended by other local groups.

“We chose St. Louis Park High School Band because they were highly recommended by Chris Taylor, the Band Director at Shakopee Jr. High School,” Stanton said. “Typically we have High School and Middle School groups out from our local community to perform with us. We love having schools come from around the area because it gives our arena more of a hometown feel and our fans really love that.”

While it is common for the Swarm to have Middle and High school bands perform, this experience is very different for Park band students, who are accustomed to performing for smaller and more familiar audiences.

Junior band student Alejandra Campos said this performance was new to her, and different from previous performances she has participated in.

“There’s going to be more people,” Campos said. “Usually at the high school games, just a couple parents go, but this one will have thousands of people.”

Although this event may be daunting to some students, Schmitz said he thinks the experience will have a positive impact on both individual students, and the overall band program.

“I think just the sheer magnitude of 10,000 people will really boost their confidence,” Schmitz said. “I think it will also increase the visibility of St. Louis Park and St. Louis Park band, because it’s at the Xcel Center on the big screen and it’s announced so it will help validate the program.”

Campos said she had mixed emotions prior to the performance, because of the extent and size of the audience.

“I’m feeling a little bit nervous and excited, but we decided to play our best songs so I think we’re going to do really well,” Campos said.

Stanton said she is confident in the band and thinks it will elicit a positive response from fans.

“I know that the audience is going to love having the St. Louis Park High School Band out to perform with us,” Stanton said. “Having bands in our audience really gets the crowd excited and makes the whole Swarm game experience come together as a whole. We are really looking forward to having them out for their first performance at “the Hive”.”

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