Vikingland Band Festival 2024

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Todd and Rhonda Blaser are this year’s grand marshals

When Rhonda Blaser was in 5th grade, she was determined to play the flute However, she said her mouth was not really set up to play that instrument. Regardless, it was what she wanted to do Determination set in and eventually, Rhonda became a flute player. Music has pretty much always been a part of her life. Her uncles were in bands, her dad sang in the church choir and Rhonda participated in every music activity possible

“Marching band was a big hook for me,” she said. “When I went to college, I continued taking flute lessons and participated in marching band until eventually the music department head pulled me in and asked why I wasn’t majoring in music His influence encouraged me to realize that’s what I really wanted to do with my life ” Todd Blaser came from a musical family. His older brother and sister were always buying records and one of his biggest musical influences was Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. After his brother quit playing the cornet, Todd would take it out of the closet and play After basically figuring out how to play the instrument on his own, he became a cornet and trumpet player in his elementary school band.

“I remember going to trumpet lessons once a week in the school library with Mr Schumacher,” said Todd. “He was a really big influence on me right away. I know all his sons and daughters and they were all musical brass players ”

As he continued in the music realm in both junior high and senior high, he met a lot of great friends, some lifelong friends who he still keeps in touch with today.

When Todd was in college, he too, ended up switching to a music major


The Alexandria couple, who met while in a drum corp together, have known each other for 42 years and have been married for 39 years Music has been at the center of their relationship all four decades.

This year, they will serve as the grand marshals for the 40th annual Vikingland Band Festival.

Both Todd and Rhonda are longtime music educators and have served on the festival committee for many years.

Todd and Rhonda Blaser

Rhonda said they both loved being in marching band before they met, but that having that in common, it just became a lifelong part of the relationship.

“When you’re a band director and you marry your guard instructor, you hit the lottery,” Todd said.

Rhonda was the color guard instructor for the Alexandria Marching Band for 17 years. Todd was the marching band director in Alexandria from 1997 until 2016. Since 2016, he has served as associate director of bands at the Willmar Senior High School.

Rhonda’s 38-year music teaching career began in Iowa. She is currently an elementary music teacher for Alexandria Public Schools She has been involved in the Vikingland Band Festival for 26 years as a committee member and coordinator of the event

Todd’s teaching career started in Iowa in 1988. The couple moved to Alexandria in 1997. During his tenure in Alexandria, the marching band performed at the 1998 Tournament of Roses Parade, 2000 Fiesta Bowl Parade, 2003 and 2006 Florida Citrus Bowl Parade, and events in Greeley, Colorado; Coronado, California; Kirkland, Washington; and Stabekk, Norway.


Todd and Rhonda have two daughters Ki is a music major at North Dakota State University and plans to teach elementary music upon graduation.

Alex, who is married to Matt Van Voorhis, also has a music degree She was involved in colorguard for many years, marching in Music City and Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps

And of course, both girls were in band while in middle school and in high school to And of course, both girls participated in all music activities throughout middle and high school.

The Blasers said they were pleasantly surprised when they were told they were this year ’ s grand marshals. They both said it is such an honor.



A. Color Guard

Marine Corps League Runestone Detachment #1409

B. Grand Marshals

Todd and Rhonda Blaser

1. Alexandria Marching Band – Host Band

Director: Nick Mason, Matt Pasch

Drumline: Derek Ziemer

Color Guard: Sarah Spieker

Honor Guard: Evan Huebner

Repertoire: Rise - The Music of Steven Reineke

2. Richfield High School Marching Spartans

Class AA

Director: Chad Armbruster

Drumline: Ryan Larson, Calvin Millett

Colorguard: Mike Andrle, Jeff Olson

Hornline: Owen Tucker

Repertoire: Also Sprach Zarathustra & Space


3. Fergus Falls High School Marching Band

Class AAA

Director: Joshua McGowan, Mickaela Pasch

Drumline: Jeff Sands

Colorguard: Ashley Sands

Repertoire: America the Beautiful

4 Cotter High School Marching Band

Class A

Director: Andy Meurer, Ian Schultz

Drumline: Sam Wantock

Colorguard: Jenna Rickoff

Repertoire: “Dad Rock”

5. 728 Cadets

Class AAAA

Director: Joe Jaeger, Shannon Curtis, Natalie Sterner

Hornline: Eddie Walentiny, Kyle Ballou, Carter Schunk, Sabrina Onouma, Steve Boulka

Drumline: Owen Sabinash, Garrett Sorenson, Danielle Larson

Colorguard: Lauren Emerson, Jordan

Lausang, Carrie Snyder

Repertoire: The Big Race from Cars, Burly Brawl from The Matrix, Fast Car, Getaway Car

6. Dassel-Cokato Marching Chargers

Class AA

Director: Anson Hanna, Jenna Schunk

Hornline Instructors: Allie Brostrom and Rylee Donald

Drumline: Gus Wiitala

Colorguard: Heidi Leitha

Repertoire: Funeral March of a Marionette, Master of Puppets, Cut the Cord

7. KMS Marching Saints

Class A

Director: Nate Sikkink, Carly Fuhrman

Drumline: Pam Diem

Color Guard: Kristin Stivers

Repertoire: A Brand New Day!

8. Sauk Rapids Rice Marching Storm

Class AAA

Director: Heidi Martinson

Drumline: Matt Winans

Color Guard: Susana Manea, Kayla DeBoer

Visual: Garrett James, Ben Brinkman

Repertoire: “On the Edge of Rage” Music of No Doubt, Fall Out Boys, Nirvana

9. Champlin Park Marching Rebels

Class AAAA

Director: Steve Johnson

Music and Visual Staff: Davis Bitterman, Ethan Goulson, Grant Goulson

Percussion Staff: Tyler Hague, Ava Bergman, Joe Cady

Color Guard Staff: Addie Guenther, Emily Erickson

Musical Arrangements: Steve Johnson & Grant Goulson

Drill Design: Addie Guenther

Repertoire: “Declassified” - Also Sprach, Rocket Man & Critical Mass

10. Minnesota Brass Drum & Bugle Corps

Director: Chris Judd, Justin Foell

Minnesota Brass is an independent, allage drum and bugle corps based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Like all drum corps, the ensemble is comprised of three distinct sections: the hornline, percussion and color guard. Together these sections create an entertaining show of music and motion which they perform at competitions, exhibitions and parades throughout the summer One of the premiere all-age drum corps in the country, Minnesota Brass won its first World Championship in 2011 In 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014 the corps was the DCA Silver medalist. The corps has won several caption (or section) awards including: DCA Horn Champions in 2010, 2011 and 2015; DCA Percussion Champions in 2003, 2004, 2010, and 2013; DCA Frontline Champions in 2001, 2004 and 2005; DCA Color Guard Champions in 2011; DCI SoundSport Best Of Show 2022

11. Montevideo High School Marching Band

Class A

Director: Hunter Hamby

Assistant Director: Riley Frank

Color Guard: Ally Girard

Repertoire: Just a Closer Walk with Thee, House of the Rising Sun, and Funkytown

12. Foley Falcon Marching Band

Class AA

Director: Janel Hesch

Assistant Director/Drumline: Karissa

Darling, Ben Kalway

Colorguard: Sarah Erickson, Makayla Griswold

Repertoire: Daft Punk Medley

13. Sartell-St. Stephen High School Marching Band

Class AAA

Director: David Lumley

Assistant Director: Lara Moline

Drumline: Joseph Sicora

Colorguard: Holli Sauerer

Repertoire: “Paranormal” with music selections from Halloween, Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice

14. Waconia High School Marching Band

Class AAAA

Director: Nick Hansberry, Phil Snyder, Alli Mottaz

Drumline: Jake Esterberg

Color Guard: Sue Snorek

Repertoire: “Drop Dead Gorgeous”Opening Theme from the Walking Dead, Dies Irae from Requiem, Zombie, Disturbia

15. Milaca High School Marching Wolves Class AAA

Director: Andrew Nelson

Drumline: Charlie Cooper

Color Guard: Christine Nelson

Repertoire: “Baseball! Homerun and America!” Take Me Out To The Ballgame, America the Beautiful, Shaker Song

2024 Festival Committee Members and

Committee Members

Chairman: Greg DeGier

Coordinator: Rhonda Blaser

Co-Founder: Ken Martinson

Treasurer: Dan Haglin

High School Operations: Jennie Engle

Street Operations: Dave Nelson

Banners/Tabloid Distribution: Kim Nelson

Judging Operations: Jeff Meland

Parade Operations: Todd Blaser



Music Execution: Jim Jacobsen

Visual Execution: Michael Hebert

Music General Effect: Brady Krusemark

Visual General Effect: Gary Swanson

Color Guard: Tamara Schmidt

Percussion: Paul Weber

Festival Sponsors


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