Dannebrog family harvests the harmony

The Grand Island Northwest band practices, the morning before Harvest of Harmony (NTV News)

Harvesting the harmony -- a Howard County family raises their kids with a love of music, and the farm.

The Kroeger family of Dannebrog says marching band, much like sports and farming, is a great way to teach kids work ethic and stay involved together as a family.

Up before dawn playing his drum - Brandon Kroeger is no stranger to hard work, something he learned from his parents on the farm.

Kurt says of his son, “He's our pivot guy. He's the one who carries in the tires and scoops in the holes, so he's not afraid of work at all.”

So playing the big bass drum is no problem. Brandon's the middle of five kids, and now the third to play in band, following in the footsteps of his mom Kathy, a clarinet player.

She said, “It's a lifetime skill they can use, and talent they can enjoy their entire life.”

Kathy puts her talents to work in the sewing room, helping the band at Grand Island Northwest.

She said, “Some of us band moms came and measured the kids and got them in their uniforms, made sure they fit right, hemmed right, and ready to go for the season.”

“Hand sewed all the band uniforms and made them fit each kid,” Kurt added.

These parents say they're trying to raise well-rounded kids who are involved in church, music and sports.

Kurt says academics come first during the school year, leaving him to farm a few thousand acres, while also doing custom spraying and harvesting, where he’s now joined by his oldest son Jeremy.

“This spring I acquired 160 acres; I got on my own and farm for dad too,” the eldest Kroeger child said.

Jeremy credits band and FFA for teaching him to be a leader.

And while carrying a full course load towards his degree, he couldn't wait to start farming.

Jeremy said, “There's nothing I like more than being part of Nebraska agriculture.”

“Makes a farm dad proud,” Kurt said.

Their daughter Macey was in band as well, and continues to play in college.

Mom and dad are already planning on daughters Jessica and Stephanie joining band in a few years. They are current students at the elementary school in St. Libory.

Kurt says, “Farming and with NW High School, I can't think of a better way to raise a family.”

NTV’s Grow highlights the Kroegers as our farm family of the month. If you know an outstanding Nebraska farm family you would like to see featured, email grow@nebraska.tv and provide a brief description of them.

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