The Pipestone Area Marching Arrows will begin their 2022 season with a new director who has a familiar face — Dr. Zachary Ploeger, a 2013 Pipestone Area Schools (PAS) graduate and former member of the band.
“It has been a pretty smooth transition so far because I went through the program as a student and I know most of the kids from teaching here last year, and I knew Mr. Kisecker and I’ve called him probably 10 times already. So I think I knew the program as well as anybody could coming into it, which has helped a little bit, and the kids knew me.”
Ploeger replaces Alex Kisecker, who was hired as the band director in 2018 and resigned at the end of last school year. He served as the middle and high school choir teacher last year and has a doctorate in trumpet performance from the University of Minnesota. His new position includes teaching grades 5 through 12 band, some private lessons during the school day, and directing the marching band, jazz band, pep band and team tuba. Ploeger said it’s a big job, but so far, after a couple months,he really likes it.
“It’s been rewarding with the kids,” he said. “They definitely want to be there. We’ve had marching band for three weeks now and the kids that are there, they really want to be there. It’s great to work with kids like that.”
This year’s marching band has 35 members in grades seven through 12, which is up from 31 last year. That includes seven color guard members, which is up from three last year.
“I was recruiting color guard before I even had the job,” Ploeger said.
He said the color guard will have new uniforms this year that are made by Collene Landgren, of Pipestone. The band received new uniforms last year.
This year’s field show is titled “Ready or Not!” Ploeger said it has a playground theme and there will be seesaws along the sideline that students will use during the show. There will also be two 10-foot by 10-foot, colorful, vinyl mesh props, one with the name of the show on it and the other with the word “Playground.”
The music includes familiar nursery rhymes. Ploeger said Kisecker wanted to get as much as he could done before he left, so he picked the show and bought the rights to the music.
Ploeger said the band will condense the field during the field show, which is something that can help small bands be more successful. The pit will be in the back on the first hash mark near the 50 yard line rather than along the sideline as usual. The two props will be at a 45-degree angle off each side of the pit.
“It makes the field compacted, so that when a band of 35 is in front of it, it looks like the proper size field for the proper size band,” Ploeger said. “We’re also going to take advantage of amplification. We’re going to have like 12 different players have a mic on throughout the entire show.”
Ploeger said this year’s band will not have a traditional drum line because there were not enough students for a pit and a drum line. He said Caden Strasser will use an electronic trap set to provide what the battery of the drum line typically would.
The parade show is the same as last year, titled “I Get Around,” featuring the song of that name by the Beach Boys. Ploeger said he planned to add some visuals that the band will stop and perform in front of the judging box during competitions.
Ploeger said the band is well prepared for the season with the shows memorized, drills learned and visuals added.
“It’s just all about cleaning at this point,” he said.
This year’s coaching staff is comprised completely of PAS graduates. In addition to Ploeger, Isaac Stiles is helping with woodwinds, Owen Minet is working with percussion and Jamie Drey is working with the color guard. Stiles, Minet and Drey graduated in 2022.
“They know their stuff,” Ploeger said. “They’ve been really helpful.”
Ploeger said the band could use more help in the Band Parents Association. He said people don’t have to be a parent to join. If they care about music in the community, they can join. Band parents help move props and percussion pieces before and after performances.
The public is invited to a free Community Night performance on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. at Paulsen Field. There will be a burger feed beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a free will donation to benefit the band.
2022 Marching Arrows Schedule
Aug. 26: Community Night at 7 p.m. at Paulsen Field
Sept. 17: Waseca Marching Classic in Waseca
Sept. 24: Tri-State Band Festival in Luverne
Sept. 24: Big Sioux Review in Brandon
Oct. 1: Festival of Bands in Sioux Falls
Oct. 8: Dutchmen Field Championships in Orange City, Iowa
Oct. 16: Indoor concert at 2 p.m. in the gymnasium at the middle and high school