Andrew Veit, of Iowa City, has an unusual occupational hazard as a field judge during the North Centra; Iowa Marching Band Invitational: collisions with flying flags, spun plastic rifles and the occasional errant tuba player.
He's quick to point out that when it happens, it's not the students' fault.
"It's my responsibility as a judge to get out of the way," he said.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Chloee Narbor performs a clarinet solo Saturday evening with the Fort Dodge High School Marching Band at the North Central Iowa Marching Band Invitational in Dodger Stadium. Director of Bands Al Paulson said the Fort Dodge band is doing a great job with its performance which earned 4A second place trophy with 76.3 points. A compete list of results will appear in Monday’s edition of The Messenger.
He has gotten hit a few times.
"Nothing too bad to me," he said. "Although there are some horror stories."
It's a risk he gladly takes to make sure that he can accurately assess the band's percussion sounds.
2013 North?Central Iowa Marching Band Invitational Results
Grand Champion (All classes)
Des Moines Lincoln
First: Des Moines Lincoln, 84.3 pts.
Second: Fort Dodge, 76.3 pts.
First: Saydel, 81.2 pts.
Second: Algona, 76.9 pts.
Third: Spencer, 72.8 pts.
Fourth: Adel Desoto Minburn, 66.8 pts.
Fifth: Humboldt, 61.6 pts.
First: Eshterville-Lincoln Central, 68.1 pts.
Second: West Marshall, 63.2 pts.
Third: Aplington-Parkersburg, 60.4 pts.
Fourth: Manson Northwest Webster, 56.8 pts.
Fifth: Pocahontas Area, 54.6 pts.
Best brass - Des Moines Lincoln
Best soloist - Algona guitarist, Peter Jorgenson
Best marching - Des Moines Lincoln
Best color guard - Saydel
Best woodwinds - Saydel
Best drum majors - Saydel
Best percussion - Des Moines Lincoln
Spirit award - Humboldt
"It's way easier for me to get up close," he said.
Bethany Brown, a member of the Pocahontas Area High School Marching Band color guard, was among those spinning flags as he walked among the band recording his observations.
She prefered her time on the field to the time spent earlier in the day at various clinics.
"I like this part," she said. "It's more of an adrenaline rush."
She said the band picked up a lot of useful information though.
"We learned a lot about posture and body technique," she said.
Another essential element of the band experience is dedication from parents.
Becky Kinnamon, of State Center, drove more than two hours with several family members to watch and record her son, Dain Winterton, perform with West Marshall Marching Band.
"This is a short trip," she said.
He is West Marshall's alto sax soloist.
Her role is important.
"You get them to their practice, you get them to practice at home," she said.
She's got a big stockpile of footage.
"Three years times how many marching band festivals?" she asked.
She was among half a dozen parents recording the performance.
While those video segments can be used for feedback later, she said that isn't their main purpose.
"It's mostly for the enjoyment of it," she said.
Jenifer Bentz, a senior at Humboldt High School, readied herself to go onto the field Saturday by sitting down for a few minutes and mentally prepare herself.
"We've been working hard," she said.
She said she learned a lot at the clinics too, even though her school's session was moved inside due to rain.
"We covered a lot on dynamics and fundamentals," she said. "We learned that loud isn't always everything."
She was ready- no nerves here.
"I've done this for a few years," she said.