FORT DODGE | For the 37th straight year, the Forest City High School Marching Band received a Division I rating at the Iowa State Marching Band competition Saturday, Oct. 7, in Fort Dodge.

Band Director Chris Schmitt said “grit, attitude and a lot of hard work” made the accomplishment possible.

“The band’s heart-set and mind-set were incredible throughout the last two months,” he said. “We had times where things were not going super well, but we learned how to triumph over those obstacles and continue to learn, grow and develop.”

During the competition, the band achieved an 86.3 of 100 overall score, which is based on the judging of music general effect, music execution, marching/maneuvering general effect, marching/maneuvering execution, color guard and percussion.

“I am incredibly proud of the students for achieving this 37th consecutive Division I rating,” he said.

The score is one of the highest the band has received in Schmitt’s four-season career.

“I am genuinely impressed with how the students were able to perform and act professionally amidst adverse weather conditions and unorthodox circumstances,” he said. “Additionally, I am amazed at how the students have continuously pushed their standards of performance to a new level.”

The band began preparation for the performance on Aug. 1 with a three-week band camp, where students practiced three hours per night learning and memorizing music as well as honing their marching skills. Once school started, the band held early rehearsals in addition to its scheduled practice time.

The successful performance comes on the heels of the Forest City High School Marching Band receiving the overall highest score at the Algona Band Day on Sept. 30.

Schmitt credited much of the band’s success to the “tremendous parental support” it received throughout the season.

The "Band Parent Army" donates water, bakes cookies and bars, helps with uniforms and equipment, brings students to rehearsals and performances and just “downright loves their student performers,” he said.

“Their time and efforts are immensely appreciated,” Schmitt said.

On Thursday, Oct. 26, the Fall Band Extravaganza featuring all the Forest City bands from grades 6-12 will be held at 7 p.m. in the high school gym.

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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