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Band festival royalty, drum majors to honor Meredith Willson on his birthday

Band festival royalty, drum majors to honor Meredith Willson on his birthday

Meredith Willson birthday 1

Mason City High School Drum Majors Bailey Gunderson (left) and Shaye Theobald stand at the Meredith Willson family monument on Monday to commemorate the composer's birthday.

To honor the birthday of Mason City native Meredith Willson, North Iowa Band Festival royalty from Mason City and Newman Catholic High Schools will visit his memorial in Elmwood Cemetery.

"Drum majors from both schools will also be present as the students share Willson's accomplishments and family heritage," a press release from the Mason City Chamber of Commerce said.

The short program will take place on Willson's birthday, Tuesday, May 18, at 11:30 a.m. at his gravesite at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery.

Britta Elsbernd and Ethan Walthall were selected as queen and king at Mason City High School, and Ellie Determan and Jack Barrett were elected as royalty at Newman Catholic High School. The students will promote North Iowa Band Festival activities and host royalty candidates from other area schools in the marching band competition. Drum majors Shaye Theobald and Luke Smith of Mason City High School and Angela Schutt of Newman Catholic High School will lead their bands in the parade on Saturday, May 29.

"The North Iowa Band Festival began as a simple celebration of North Iowa's musical heritage," the release recalled. "Now in its eighth decade, it has grown to a large community festival, complete with a parade, variety of entertainment, marching band competitions and carnival held over Memorial Day weekend."

For more information on the fast-approaching North Iowa Band Festival, visit

Melanie Mergen is Local News Editor for the Globe Gazette. You can reach her at


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