City band striking up for July 4 parade

The Forest Lake City Marching Band plays its way down Broadway Avenue in the 2012 Fourth of July Parade. (File photo by Cliff Buchan)

The Forest Lake City Marching Band plays its way down Broadway Avenue in the 2012 Fourth of July Parade. (File photo by Cliff Buchan)

Members needed at Thursday’s rehearsal

Clint Riese
News Editor

Local musicians hope to strike up the city band this July 4, but first they need to secure the help of some tune-carrying friends.

The Forest Lake City Marching Band is rehearsing for a Fourth of July parade performance each Thursday this month starting at 6:30 p.m. at American Legion Post 225, 355 W. Broadway Ave.

The band did not march in last year’s parade and had too few members to march at last week’s rehearsal.

The band consists mainly of former Forest Lake High School alumni, many of whom were members in the school’s marching band program, which no longer exists. The city band formed in the early 1980s and peaked with 140 members that marched in upward of 15 parades per summer. Eventually it formed solely for the Forest Lake parade. It has been playing on and off for the last decade or so, said Jay Voelker, the band’s drum major.

“With the high school not having (a marching band) anymore, by the time they get out of junior high, they kind of lose their interest in marching, and we don’t get them,” Voelker said. “Some of us older ones are trying to figure out what we want to do.”

For this summer, though, fielding a marching unit for July 4 will suffice. The celebration’s 90th anniversary is extra incentive to field the band, said Voelker, noting that anyone with marching experience is welcome to participate, regardless of age or which school district they attended.

Eighty people joined the band for a 30th anniversary performance in 2011. At least 30 members are needed to form a parade-worthy group, Voelker said.

“If we had 40 on the fourth, boy, I’d be happy with that,” he said. “We’re just trying to get enough people to put a band out on the street on the fourth.”

Those interested can simply attend rehearsal this Thursday, June 12. Voelker urges those seeking more information to contact him at 651-433-3328 or jrvoelker@frontiernet.net.

Parade Details
American Legion Post 225 has chosen the theme “Celebrating 90 Years of Patriotism” for its Fourth of July celebration, which is set for June 28 through July 6. Entrants are needed for the parade, which begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 4. An application is available at www.post225.com.

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