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Strike up the band: Mandan Marching Braves find creative ways to perform during pandemic

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 12:05 PM CDT
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MANDAN, ND – Many traditional fall events have been cancelled, from parades to football games and even concerts.

But the Mandan Marching Braves are determined to perform as much as they can.

That’s meant getting creative in finding audiences.

This is the moment Kylie Beaver has been dreaming of since she was in 8th grade. Beaver is the drum major for the Mandan Marching Braves.

“I’m excited to be able to do it this year,” said Beaver, a senior at Mandan High School.

This year’s performances look a little different than in previous years.

“In a normal year, we’d be performing at varsity football games,” explained Mandan Marching Braves director Rebecca Warren.

But this year is anything but normal. Instead of playing at varsity football games and marching in parades, they’re playing a JV games and performing parking lot concerts.

“Marching band is my favorite thing,” said Aubrey Spangelo, a Mandan senior and percussion section leader.

Spangelo says she doesn’t really care where they play, as long as they get to play.

“We’re just thankful we get to do something,” said Spangelo.

And these musicians are embracing the changes and the new audiences.

“We’ve really been given more opportunities to do more stuff even with restrictions,” said Avery Boehm, a Mandan senior and band captain.

Their director beams with pride.

“It’s been a challenge, but these kids have risen to the challenge. This is as close to normal as we’ve had in our band program for the school year so far,” said Warren.

And these days any little sense of normal is a good thing, for students and for their teachers.

“I don’t know what I would have done without marching band these past few months because it’s pretty much my life,” said Beaver.

The Mandan Marching Braves will be performing Thursday at Mandan’s Heritage Park at 7 p.m.

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