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Minnesota Brass, Bands Form Bonds at Vikingland Festival

Minnesota Brass will join six other units in the inaugural Minnesota Drum Corps Premiere on June 25 as part of the 32nd Annual Vikingland Band Festival Parade Marching Championship in Alexandria, Minn.

The show will be held at the Alexandria Area High School’s Viking Savings Bank Field at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25. MBI will be joined by the Govenaires of St. Peter and Minneapolis’ Chops Inc. in presenting their 2016 field shows for the first time. Also appearing will be the Calgary Stampede Showband, Calgary Stetson Show Band and Calgary Round-Up Band, all from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The host Alexandria Marching Band will also perform.  Tickets to the show are $6 in advance; $9 at the door.Vikingland Band Festival

Show co-founder Ken Martinson, an Alexandria native who now lives in Nashville, Tenn., said the unjudged show will feature the presentation of a “fan favorite” award, noting the show will be “nice for the corps to participate in a supportive and relaxed dress rehearsal for everybody to debut their shows.”

The following day will feature the annual Vikingland Band Festival Parade Marching Championship, a bands-only event that will feature more than 2,000 performers representing 24 units, including 19 in competition and the units appearing Saturday night.

Martinson, whose drum corps experience was playing with the Hutchinson (Kansas) Sky Ryders, is also a judge, instructor and founder of the popular marching.com website. For him, the highlight of the weekend is “the camaraderie that exists between MBI and all the high-school bands that compete. Most of MBI’s staff has either marched with or are on staff with the high-school bands appearing at Vikingland. Plus, the audience gets to see both the field-show and street sides of the marching activity during the weekend.

“We tend to forget there is always a new audience among the kids,” he said. “A good number of people here have never seen a drum corps show. This event introduces a whole new generation to the drum corps activity, and lets them know that after graduation the all-age corps offer an opportunity to continue to perform.”

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