The Ottumwa Courier

October 22, 2013

Private Performance

By MARK NEWMAN Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — Even the grownups had to admit: It was a darn good entrance.

When members of the Ottumwa High School marching band came for a visit at Seton Catholic School, they entered the school parking lot marching to the sound of drums. In fact, band members marched to St. Mary of the Visitation Church, where Seton is, with drums and horns playing the whole way down Fourth Street from the high school.

About 60 Seton kids lined up outside with their coats on, in 46-degree weather, right next to the school. While the high schoolers were in casual clothes, they looked good and, said a couple of first-graders, sounded really good, too.

“A marching band played for us,” explained Garrett Tuller, 6.

One instrument kept his attention the whole time.

“I liked how the tubas sounded,” he said. “It looks like ... it takes practice.”

In fact, though there were drums, flags, horns and the chance to get out of class for a bit, the tubas were his favorite part of the show.

Garrett wasn’t sure if playing an instrument was something he wanted to pursue. But he liked the chance to march. After the children watched the OHS band march off up Fourth Street, Madelon Rounds, the first-grade teacher, let her class march into the school.

“Left, right, left!” she called as they went inside.

That, said Garrett, was fun.

The whole experience turned out well for classmate Emersyn Simmers. Principal Julie Gentz said she was proud of Emersyn.

At first, the band was a tough sell for her. She told teachers she didn’t want to go outside because she was “afraid of marching bands.”

They didn’t force the issue. She watched from a window, Gentz said.

“But she liked them so much, she told me next year, she’ll go out.”

And most likely, the band will be back next year.

“I had the band director’s children as students,” said preschool teacher Sara Johnson. “I asked if he thought the band would ever play for Seton. Now, it’s kind of become a tradition. Our kids love it.”

Does Emersyn know what spooked her about marching bands?

“The big white things.”

The what?

“The big white things,” repeated Rounds, adding, “She means the tubas.”

Check out writer Mark Newman on Twitter at @CourierMark