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728 Cadets 2016 Season – Dare to Dream

By Cindy Martin, 08/26/16, 10:15PM CDT


View the DARE TO DREAM production.

The 728 Cadets wrapped up a 7 week summer tour pleasing crowds across Minnesota with fifteen engagements including a Minnesota Twins game to play the national anthem. The Cadets also said goodbye to retiring co-head director Mike Reed who has been with the 728 Cadets organization for the last 4 years, filling head director and music director positions for both Winter and Summer marching arts activities. Reed plans to spend more time with family and become a marching arts judge. 728 Cadets President Don Schunk, says "Mike Reed's leadership and commitment to our students over the last four years is greatly appreciated. Because of the passion and dedication, he instilled in the group, he leaves us with a very strong program and with momentum going into future seasons. With very talented and committed students, supportive parents, and exceptional staff, we are in a great position to continue growing the organization."

The 728 Cadets co-head director Joe Jaeger will take over the head director position for the Summer 2017 Marching Band. Keith Saxton (Rogers Middle School Band Director and past season Cadets assistant music director) will partner with Mark Walentiny (previous 728 Cadets student and MN Brass alumni) to lead the winter indoor hornline group River Valley Sound.

For their 2016 summer production “Dare to Dream” the 728 Cadet’s music director Mike Reed switched up the repertoire weaving popular music into his arrangement. Reed knew the music would please crowds on the street, but said it was a risk for marching arts competition. The challenge for students would be telling a story through music and performance with the support of props, dazzling uniforms, and dynamic drill design.

The vibrant colors of the uniforms and rolling props set the stage for the theatrical performance portraying a dream sequence.  The “Dare to Dream” repertoire began with Pure Imagination by Leslie Bricusse, where the students portrayed fun, happy characters of a Dreamer's imagination. Then the mood changed to a darker, more drastic setting as the dream took a sharp turn and became a terrifying nightmare. The characters turned and were no longer fun, but scary and taunting while performing Children’s Hour of Dream by Charles Mingus. Closing the performance was a crowd favorite, Dream On by Steven Tyler, where the mood turned from scary to somber and the characters and Dreamer regained confidence knowing nothing could do them harm.

Video highlights of the 2016 season tour can be viewed at:

Competitive marching festivals are always favorite engagements for students and the Cadets remained a top contender at those events. On June 18th the Cadets received top honors in Class AAA and overall Grand Champion at both the Harry Wenger (Owatonna) and Lake Waconia Marching Band Festivals. In addition, they received a People’s Choice award, 2 each Best Color Guard, Winds, and Percussion awards, and achieved the top combined score for the day to receive the Owat-onia award for the fourth year in a row. On June 26th, the Cadets competed in Alexandria’s Vikingland Band Festival, one of the largest street marching band competitions in the Midwest. They received 1st place in Class AAAA for the fourth year in a row along with Best Winds, Color Guard, and Percussion; but were edged out of the Grand Champion award for the festival by .10, with top honors going to Class AAA Champion Waconia Marching Band. Summer marching season scores can be found at

The 728 Cadets Marching Band were 98 students strong from District 728 schools, including Elk River, Rogers, and Zimmerman middle and high schools. In addition to the performance education received from instructors, there were many benefits that came from participating in the summer marching band program:

  • Improved physical endurance as the summer temperatures increased and they marched in community parades through mid July.

  • Students used the competitive parades to better their performance and set goals to improve scores each event.

  • Students grades 6 - 12 worked as a team to pull off a large-scale production that could be fun, competitive, and entertaining to communities they performed for.

  • Leadership experiences were available for veteran students to develop their skills.

  • Camaraderie was built between District 728 students and other school bands.

The 2016 staff consisted of Mike Reed (Co-Head Director, Music Instructor), Joe Jaeger (Co-Head Director, Percussion Instructor), Evan Pufpaff, Carrie Snyder, (Color Guard Instructors), Mark Walentiny, Matt Brisbin, Austin Batula, Alexis MacArthur, Wyatt Martin, Zach Hathcock, and Joey Wattenhofer (Techs). Hornline music arrangements were by Mike Reed, percussion music written by Joe Jaeger, and marching drill created by Mike Reed and Evan Pufpaff.