The sounds of “Dante” rang out at U.S. Bank Stadium this past weekend during the Youth in Music Marching Band Championship. Dozens of bands from Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota were at the competition, along with the Hutchinson Marching Tigers, who wrapped up their first year of field marching competition.

“I’m really proud of our band,” senior Marissa Brunkhorst said. “I think we did really well. As a senior, I’m really happy we did so well.”

The Tigers were among 11 Class A teams and 28 teams total in the competition. They performed their show “Dante,” which was based on Dante Alighieri’s novel “The Divine Comedy” and tracks the narrator’s journey through Hell, then Purgatory, and ultimately Paradise.

Before the band’s performance, there was originally nothing but silence when it entered the stadium, which caused some nervousness among the Tigers.

“We didn’t really know what to expect,” Brunkhorst said. “So when we got there — U.S. Bank Stadium is huge — we ended up in this tunnel that was meant for deliveries. Then they led us to the Vikings’ field and we were like, ‘Oh. Like, it’s time to go.’ ... There was a weird silence though.”

The Tigers overcame their nerves, and all their practices throughout summer and fall paid off when the team’s color guard earned Best in State in Class A. Members of the color guard were Leah Pullman, Kendallyn Kalenberg, Eavan McCormick, Jordan Schmidt and Maddie Norman.

“It was really exciting. It wasn’t something we were really expecting,” said McCormick, a color guard captain. “It was a great feeling after all the work we put into this season.”

“It was our first year marching in this kind of competition. We weren’t truly expecting to get a placement,” Brunkhorst said, “but when they called best color guard for our class, we were all excited because we weren’t expecting that at all.”

As a team, the Marching Tigers placed 10th in their class and 27th overall. While the overall finish was low, Kleindl was pleased with the progress the team made throughout these past few months as the Tigers shifted to field marching.

“It was a great season,” he said. “The kids really stepped their game up and were hard-working. They exceeded every expectation the staff had this year. It was really fun.”

Kleindl added that they’ve already started planning for next season’s show, which he plans to announce sometime in January or February.

“Right before Water Carnival, we’ll be running a spat camp to start it off where they can learn the basics and go from there,” he said. “Then next August, we’re back in it the whole time.”

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