Don’t be surprised if Katie Hahn adds the personnel at the Clearwater Travel Plaza to her Christmas card list. After all, the Lincoln High School band director made enough recent stops at the popular gas station/restaurant located on I-94 about an hour north of the Twin Cities to probably be on a first-name basis with those manning the check-out stations.
Hahn and her band members took five bus trips in a 2 1/2-week span to play for the Prowlers at the boys state hockey tournament and the girls state basketball tournament.
They had to stop somewhere to stretch, grab some snacks and visit the restrooms.
“I love the Clearwater Travel Plaza,” quipped Hahn. “We don’t stop there every time, but we stop the majority of the time. Our second favorite stop is Little Falls.”
The band went down and back to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for the Prowlers’ Wednesday, March 2, quarterfinal hockey game. They returned for the Friday semifinals and stayed overnight for the next-morning third place game.
On the way back to Thief River Falls they stopped in Moorhead for the girls Section 8AAA basketball semifinals.
Calculated mileage on that trip: 1,350.
The girls basketball tournament was even more demanding because the Class AAA schedule had the Prowlers playing Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
That resulted in down-and-back trips for Hahn and her student-musicians for a March 15 quarterfinal game at the Target Center in Minneapolis, a March 17 semifinal contest at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis and a March 19 third place affair at the Gangelhoff Center on the Concordia University campus in St. Paul.
It’s guessed that added up to be 1,788 miles.
“The band kids keep themselves extremely busy, especially during tournament time,” pointed out Hahn. “I am so proud of their ability to balance their time in band with their other activities and school work. There are some weeks during playoff season where they have the potential to have pep band every night, except Sunday.”
In addition to those state tournament trips, the band traveled twice to East Grand Forks for boys Section 8A hockey and went to Minnesota State University Moorhead for the Section 8AAA girls basketball finals. That’s another 417 miles, bringing the band bus tournament total to approximately 3,555 miles.
And that’s just a portion of the band members obligation, pointed out Hahn. “While pep band is an important and most visible part of our curriculum, the bands also spend their time in class rehearsing for our formal concerts and our upcoming solo ensemble and large group contests,” she explained. “Their energy and willingness to support their fellow peers when they have so much else happening in their lives is just awesome, and says a lot about the culture we have at LHS.”