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Pioneerland Band Festival set for June 14

Lead Summary

By Reed Anfinson
There will be a Pioneerland Band Festival June 14, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer told the District 777 Board of Education at its meeting Monday night.
That also means there will be Benson High School marching band practice ahead as students who haven’t practiced marching for more than a year learn their steps.
Some of the younger students, who should have had their first year of marching band last year along with the group now coming up, will be practicing marching for the first time.
BHS Director of Bands Brock Duncan said Tuesday morning that there are 11 bands planning on coming to Benson Monday, June 14 – Flag Day. However, he added that those attending the parade will have to be prepared for a different look due to the lack of time to practice and COVID-19 rules.
Laumeyer said that one of the rules is that the bands will have to stay at least 12 feet from the curb. In a normal year, bands will come right up the curb at times.
It was somewhat of a welcome surprise that the marching band could perform this summer. “It was no marching, no marching, and then now there is marching,” Laumeyer said of those at the state who are making the rules.
Duncan is looking at limited travel plans to perform in other communities this summer. One of the challenges that will have to be worked out is the transportation of band members, Laumeyer said.
The Swift County Monitor-News will conduct a more complete story on the upcoming band festival in next week’s publication.
Because of the limited time to practice, there will be no Memorial Day parade, Laumeyer said. However, several band members will be at the Memorial Day Service in the Benson City Cemetery to play taps.
Graduation will take place June 6 in the new BHS Performing Arts Center (PAC.) However, High School Principal Mike Knutson said that just how many people will be able to be in the 630-seat center is yet to be determined.
The 33rd Pioneerland Band Festival was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the health and well-being of our community in mind, the Pioneerland Band Festival committee, along with Benson’s city officials, have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Flag Day Parade,” Duncan said last year.
 He said the decision was based on the following factors:
- State health officials continue to recommend that Minnesotans do not gather in large groups.
- Because Minnesota schools are closed, many bands are unable to prepare, thus affecting the participation in parades this summer. 
- Many of the early summer parades have already been canceled.
- The ability of our community to plan and support such a large event while sheltering at home will be too difficult.
Benson High School’s marching band has not been able to practice since the governor called for Minnesota’s schools to shut down in-person classes by March 18 in 2020.
The Pioneerland Band Festival is always on Flag Day, June 14.
President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation May 30, 1916 establishing a national Flag Day to be celebrated each June 14. It honors the American flag, which was adopted June 14, 1777, by the Second Continental Congress when it passed the Flag Resolution stating: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
Upcoming Benson Public Schools schedule:
May 13, Thursday – Sixth grade concert in the PAC at 1:30 p.m.
May 24, Friday - Scholarship awards ceremony in the PAC.
May 28, Friday – Last day of school for seniors.
June 3, Thursday – Last day of school.
June 6, Sunday – Graduation in the PAC.


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