Pella Marching Dutch preparing for contest season

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Members of the 2019 Pella High School Marching Dutch. (photo by Steve Woodhouse)

This Saturday, Sept. 28, marching band fans will be able to catch the Marching Dutch performing its program, “The Art of the Tango”.

All music is Argentinian Tango, composed by Astor Piazzotella and Michael Gandolfi. Piazzotella was one of the most well-known, famous composers of Tango music.

The band’s program is enhanced with visual arts, including screen paintings that portray Tango in some way. Band Director Jason Pentico said the goal is to express the Tango in multiple ways and play on words about Tango.

This year’s soloists include Annaleigh Babcock on the trumpet. She is featured throughout the entire show. Isaac Piersma is also featured on the drum. Overall, the show features great moments for all of the band and the color guard.

Pentico adds that this is one of his favorite shows. He really enjoyed putting it together. The band has bee working on the show since early August, including two weeks of band camp. Since classes began, the band has rehearsed Monday through Friday, 7:15-8:40 a.m. Every day, Pentico has seen improvement in the performance. He gives credit to his section leaders.

“The leadership is on the field, making sure everyone has an understanding of what’s going on,” Pentico said.

Following the band’s exhibition Saturday in Pella, competition begins the next week. They will compete at Urbandale at 7:21 p.m. Oct. 5, Valleyfest around 9:15 p.m. Oct. 12 and host the State Marching Contest on Oct. 19. Performance times for the State Contest were unavailable as of this original post. Pentico adds that nighttime performances at contests work best for his band, as many of the members are active in fall sports during the day.

The Marching Dutch head into the State Contest with 45 consecutive Division I ratings.

Credit is also due many band parents, who scramble every halftime and other performance to get equipment on and off the field. Pentico says it is an intense, crazy process and he is very blessed to have many students in the program as well as outstanding equipment. Band members and his staff would not be able to make the equipment changes on their own.

Gabe Short, the eighth grade band director, also contributes by creating laminated cards for the performance, directs parents were to go and helps get parents registered to help.

“Parents are great, they are always willing to help,” Pentico said. “We are very blessed and we want to keep that going.”