Rural Schools Combine To Create Marching Band

By Diette Courrégé Casey — March 23, 2012 1 min read
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Small, rural schools sometimes don’t have enough students to fill an Advanced Placement class or field a sports team.

In Southwest North Dakota, many schools don’t have enough students for a full marching band, but they’ve found a creative solution—joining forces.

School Band and Orchestra
, the monthly publication for elementary, middle, and high school band and orchestra directors, featured a nice articlein its November issue about a collaborative that’s grown to include 340 kids in 10 schools.

It’s not uncommon for high schools in Southwest North Dakota to have fewer than 150 students, and that means participating in one of the region’s band traditions, Band Night, isn’t possible, according to the story. Band Night is an annual event held in Bismarck, N.D., that features a parade of high school marching bands from across the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota, and Southern Canada.

One band director talked with another about putting their bands together for the parade, and that was the start of the Southwest Marching Band. It’s grown every year to its current size.

Mark Perkins, one of the band directors involved, said in the article that this is the only way his students can experience what it’s like to march in a band. He also said it gives them a chance to work with others.

“The way they treat each other and get along is really great to see,” he said in the story. “There are a lot of social benefits that we didn’t really count on. We just thought it would be kind of neat to provide that experience for them, and the students have taken it to a whole new level.”

How cool is that? It’s always nice to read a feel-good story, especially on a Friday. Hope y’all have a great weekend!

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.