Archived Story

Long ago band trip recalled

Published 7:09am Monday, December 24, 2012 Updated 9:10am Monday, December 24, 2012

After the recent announcement that the Fergus Falls Marching Band will be playing at the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21, 2013, it reminded me of my days in the marching band in Little Falls.

In particular, the trip reminded me of our band’s trip to the Expo ’86, otherwise known as the World’s Fair in Vancouver, B.C.

Even though that trip was 27 years ago, I can still recall that, at that point in my life, there was nothing like it.

Here are a few highlights:

• I recall doing some fundraising —selling magazine subscriptions and getting in an assembly line to produce crafts for the annual Little Falls craft fair were two in particular — but I don’t remember sweating it out too much.

• The bus trip was highlighted (or lowlighted) by the fact that I was assigned a seat next to a girl I liked — but I was too afraid to talk to. I spent most of the trip listening to Van Hagar’s new album.

• Our bus driver had a radar detector, and while I wasn’t sure exactly how fast we went, I recall times at night when that thing went off, and inertia immediately lifted me out of my seat. We also noticed that we were supposed to be in Billings one particular morning, and we bypassed the mountains altogether and were in Butte.

• Vancouver is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The combination of ocean, mountains and city was breathtaking.

• Our first night we ate at a “fancy” restaurant that, in looking back on it, wasn’t particularly fancy.

• As a sousaphone player in a particularly warm mid-May, I think it was kind of hot and sweaty performing. It’s funny, but the actual performances really escape my memories. Then again, I didn’t march in front of the president of the United States.

I recall it was one of the many areas of the gigantic fair. For the concert band competition, I recall playing in some old gymnasium. We also had these purple concert band suits that were about as eighties as they get.

• The actual fair was a fun time. I recall being in one of those theaters where the seats moved as the screen showed a skier heading down the British Columbia mountains. I also recall my friends ditching me, leaving me to hang out with this boring kid. At least he went along with whatever I wanted.

So as the Fergus Falls Marching Band gets a chance to go to Washington D.C. — see the sights, see the President, and for most of the trip, the back of the bus seat in front of them — we will all be watching in envy.

I won’t necessarily be jealous because they’ll be on a trip. Many of us have been to Washington D.C. or places more exciting.

I’ll be jealous because at least a part of me would like to go back again and relive those days.


•  •  •


I have heard a lot of media discussion about how it is important to discuss the recent shooting in Connecticut with our children.

No offense, but I’ll pass.

I’m just not sure what an eight-year-old can learn from that incident. I’d rather she be concerned about what she’s getting from Santa for Christmas.

Frankly, I have avoided reading and watching a lot of news about the story as well. While I have sympathy for those affected, I just don’t need to know any more information about how painful and terrible it was.


Joel Myhre is The Journal’s publisher. Email him at


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