Band Day honors Aboud

ALGONA – Marching bands from all around Iowa and Minnesota gathered in Algona Saturday afternoon for the annual Algona Band Day Festival.

This year’s festival honored the career of former Algona Band Director John Aboud, who was named the grand marshal of the parade.

Aboud, who is now retired, said he couldn’t believe he had been selected as the grand marshal.

“I was surprised, honored and just shocked,” he said. “It was just an honor.”

“I was on the other side for 30 years,” Aboud added. “But this was my first time seeing it from the perspective of the organizers.”

Aboud said he saw many of his former students, and enjoyed riding in the parade.

He also said the weather was perfect for the parade.

“We had a two-hour window of sunshine today,” he said. “It was perfect, and it was great seeing all the fine band students.”

The parade featured 28 bands from both Iowa and Minnesota, including several who had participated in the festival before.

Evan Ulven, the drum major for the Clarion-Goldfield marching band, described the experience as “thrilling.”

“I’m excited that I got to be a part of this group,” he said. “I’m enjoying the other bands as well.”

Another band participating for the second time was the Iowa Central Community College marching band.

Jeremy Smith, Iowa Central’s director of athletic bands, said the Algona Band Day Festival allows the group to expand the area it travels to.

“Besides our home games, it allows us to get out into the communities we’re in,” Smith said. “There’s always a great response from the crowd here.”

Trae Fistler, who played the tuba during Saturday’s parade, said he had a lot of fun at the event.

“I like to watch the bands and listen to the drumlines,” Fistler said.

Natalie Nielsen, the band director for Humboldt High School, said Saturday was her first time traveling to Algona with her band.

“It’s so great to see everybody come out and support the bands,” Nielsen said. “Everybody sounded so good.”

One member of the crowd, Ruth Wallerstedt, traveled from Oakland, Neb. to see her grandson serve as the drum major with the Algona Middle School band.

“It’s perfect weather for a perfect day,” she said. “There’s lots of support here. I think Algona is a really nice town and everybody is so happy here.”

The festival continued Saturday evening with a field show at Algona High School.