The struggle is real to keep a top high school marching band rolling


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Transportation troubles threaten to leave the Lindbergh High School Band stalled and stranded.

Two box trucks have hauled the band’s gear across the St. Louis region, even to Georgia and Florida over the past 15 years. They’re each from the 2004 model year and approaching 200,000 miles.

Bandmembers and parents are now raising money to replace at least one of the trucks.

The Lindbergh Bandstanders parent support group uses the trucks to haul instruments, props, and stages. The trucks were donated to the band.

“They keep getting louder and louder. They’re really, really, loud inside the cab when you’re trying to drive,” said Matt Seeker, a Bandstander who is also among the pool of truck drivers.

The band nearly missed the River City Showcase band competition on Oct. 9 when one of the trucks broke down.

“Somebody ran in and said there’s been a problem with one of the equipment trucks,” said band director David Wyss.

After one truck was loaded, it wouldn’t start and had the other truck blocked in, he said.

Parents scrambled and rented another truck. The band made the competition and won three trophies.

“We were really, really, uncomfortably close to missing our times,” said Bandstander Heather Herbold.

“A marching band, it comes with a price tag…the point of a marching band is to perform. We do that quite a bit. We have to do this loading thing and traveling a lot. Without these trucks we’re a practicing band,” Wyss said.

The band has played in the Tournament of Roses Parade three times since 2005. The school district is very supportive but the trucks and their growing repair costs are now above and beyond the standard budget.

There is concern about making it to upcoming commitments, including a performance in Orlando, Florida over Spring Break.

“We’re not doing the Rose Parade this year so we’re taking the kids down to Orlando, Florida, we hope, fingers crossed,” Herbold said.

Even more than that, getting new trucks is about safeguarding the Lindbergh High School Band tradition for students to come.

“We’re all such a family and we all love each other so much,” said Lindbergh High School senior Mie Heuberger, who is the band’s spirit chair and flute section leader. “I know that I am really dedicated to the band program. I love everyone in there. I want to make sure freshman and future classes are also able to have stuff working for them and have an amazing experience like I did.”

The band, by far, had been the best part of her high school years, she said.

“We want to have this type of equipment that we need,” Seeker said, “to support our schools and our kids; to show everybody else, we’re proud of Lindbergh. We’re proud of being part of the band.”

The Bandstanders parents group is taking donations, selling advertising, and holding a 50/50 raffle with the winner guaranteed $10,000.

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