Photo Courtesy: Solar Sound Marching Band, Gary Zwack

ST. CLOUD - The St. Cloud All-City Marching Band now has a new name. Look for Solar Sound Marching Band this summer. Director Gary Zwack says this marching band is regional, and the name change reflects that.

He says, "Kind of ties in with our winter groups, we have Aurora Drumline and Eclipse Winterguard. We have kind of that celestial names. We've had students from eleven different communities as far away as Brainerd, Little Falls, Royalton, and Bowlus." 

Tyler Wetterling, Jon Karels, Brooke Leabch, and Beth Ann Nikolas all play in Solar Sound, and agree the name change is a good thing.

Wetterling says, "It really helps give people the idea that we aren't affiliated with the city or the schools like other marching bands are." 

"For me it's getting more people involved, and just opening it up to a wider community," says Nikolas.

Solar Sound is fighting smaller numbers again this year. Zwack says this is a trend with all marching bands, but Solar Sound isn't letting it get them down. They will be playing four parades this year in Sartell, Foley, St. Cloud, and St. Joseph.

Karels says "I'm happy that we're still doing this season. We did debate not competing, not doing it at all this year, but it does make sense to do non-competitive parades to still get the word out there, tell people we're still here, we're still striving for success." 

"We had a smaller band last year too, but it's just whoever you get it's really just having fun with them," says Leabch.

The reduced schedule for the band was a way to help cut costs, and keep it affordable for the students. Zwack says they are marching in more fun and entertaining shows, instead of worrying about competition and trophies. The students are excited for the season.

"Every year they're different, so this year is a completely different concept then what we have done in past years," says Wetterling, "Where we have had kind of a creepy and energetic, and now we have a light fluffy winter."

Nikolas says, "I'm most looking forward to playing 'Let It Go' as one of our short shows." 

Zwack says he is excited for this year, as well as the future of the Solar Sound Marching Band.

I'm really excited about the potential that we have in the future. We have a building program, sixth and seventh graders, that's called The Blue Jackets.

Solar Sound Marching Band's first performance will be this Saturday during the Sartell parade. They will also be marching in Foley on June 17th, in St. Cloud during Granite City Days on June 27th, and in the St. Joseph 4th of July parade.