Even dressed in casual T-shirts, tank tops and shorts, the Winona Senior High School (WSHS) Winhawk Marching Band is all about professionalism. Members of the marching band play their instruments in unison as they match each other’s strides down a long asphalt road behind the high school, readying themselves for an upcoming performance on Wednesday at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, otherwise known as the Minnesota State Fair. “Our goal is perfection!” shouts Tim Gleason, the director of the Winhawk Marching Band, as the students straighten their backs and proceed to march onward to a catchy blend of current pop songs. The marching band’s talent is detectable, as it takes only a few seconds to recognize popular hits including Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” and Beyoncé’s “End of Time.”
. The WSHS Winhawk Marching Band will perform at the Minnesota State Fair on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
“This year’s [Minnesota State Fair] theme is a tribute to divas,” explains WSHS senior Alissa Shepardson, who is one of six drum majors, along with seniors Alissa Lieder, Erin Halvorson, Becca Geisler and Jillian Hultgren, and junior Chris Wisted.
As the heat continues to radiate from every corner outside, the marching band continues right on cue and members never once complain when Gleason and Myron Haug, associate director of the Winhawk Marching Band, asks them to repeat a step or play with more passion. “Our band is a family,” Shepardson says of each member of the marching band, as well as directors Gleason and Haug. “We want everyone to feel welcomed.”
At this year’s state fair performance, Winhawk Marching Band members will march in their new uniform pants, which replace the worn-out, overly-hemmed pants that had not been updated since the late 1970s. “They’re really nice,” explains Wisted. “A lot better [than the old pants].”
According to both Wisted and Shepardson, the new pants are a lot lighter than the heavy wool ones that they used to wear, which makes marching in them a lot more bearable. “[The old pants] were made of this heavy wool fabric,” Wisted not-so-fondly remembers. The new pants are also equipped with buttons in the pant legs, which make for quick adjustments, instead of having to use needle and thread to change the length of the pants with each new wearer. “They’re great,” Shepardson said of the pants that Winhawk supporters helped fund.
The new uniform pants only add to the already prestigious band, which has been a source of continuing pride for many former WSHS alumni as well as many members of the Winona area community. “We’re all very much excited,” Wisted says of Wednesday’s upcoming performance.
“It’s one of the most fun parades we march in,” adds Shepardson. “It’s really a privilege [to march in the state fair because] it shows that our band has enough character that we can play in a big setting and in front of so many people.”
The WSHS Winhawks Marching Band will perform on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Minnesota State Fair.