LEXINGTON, Neb. — The Lexington Middle School Minutemen band is the only band made up of just seventh and eighth graders competing at this year’s Harvest of Harmony Parade.
But competing might not be the right word.
“We go for comments only," informed Director Chad Scharff.
This is because there is no middle school division. The only other 13 and 14-year-olds playing in the parade play with a 7-12th grade band.
“It’s really nerve-wracking because you’re going against all these high school bands, but at the same time, it’s really fun," said eighth grade trombonist, Leah Sauer.
However, the Minutemen practice just as hard as any other band.
“I think the biggest thing right now that we struggle with is turning corners. It’s a real problem that we’ve been trying to work on. That’s why we take a couple of days and put them together," stated Scharff.
Wednesday was the first day the band played together as one.
“I think it went pretty good. It’s just that I think we need to work on everybody keeping in step," advised Cristian Franco, an eighth grade trumpeter.
Staying in step was one of the many things directors try to focus on.
“We just try to convince the kids, and get them to buy in, that how they present themselves is what people are going to see. They’re going to hear with their eyes," said Director Spencer Hansen.
But this year, the Minutemen have a secret weapon: inside experience.
“I am from Columbus, Nebraska and then I moved to Lincoln for college. I have marched. It was probably my younger years of high school that I was in there," said Director Sarah Ernest.
With both grades marching together, directors said their eighth graders have really stepped up as leaders.
“They’ve done an excellent job. Seventh grade is the year they learn and when they come back as eighth graders, they’ve got the experience. They’ve really impressed us, they’ve done a good job," exclaimed Hansen.
Those eighth graders also had a few words of encouragement for their younger members.
“Don’t be nervous. It may be hard in the beginning but it gets easier," said percussionist Jasmine Aguirre.
“It’s not as bad as it looks," stated Sauer.
“Just keep trying and don’t give up," advised Franco.
The Lexington Minutemen are the second to last band to step off, scheduled for 10:15 Saturday morning.