16th Annual Masonic All-Star Marching Band

Published on Monday, 21 June 2010 15:41
Written by thenebraskasigna

Two Fillmore Central High School students were among 250 high school students from across Nebraska who participated in the 16th annual Masonic All-Star Marching Band, which performed June 19, during Shrine Bowl festivities in Lincoln.

Participating were Ryan Millsap, son of Ed and Vicki Millsap and Andrew Votipka, son of Kelly Thompson and Mark Votipka, all of Geneva. Also participating from Bruning-Davenport High School, was Chelsea Kindelspire, daughter of Clark and Anjanette Kindelspire of Bruning.

The band members devoted four days of intense practice starting June 15, to learn the music, marching steps and field formations. The band led the Shrine Bowl Parade down Lincoln’s Havelock Avenue on the morning of June 19. It also performed during half-time of the 52nd annual Shrine Bowl football game in Memorial Stadium on Tom Osborne Field, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The band members were hosted by the Masons of Nebraska and were directed by Brad Weber, Dan Sodomka and Dave Bohnert, band directors from Wayne High School, Aurora High School and Wayne State, respectively. Millsap received a scholarship from Geneva Masonic Lodge No. 79; Votipka received a scholarship from Geneva Chapter No. 180, Order of the Eastern Star; and Kindelspire received a scholarship from Lily Masonic Lodge No. 154, Davenport. The scholarships covered the costs of the camp.

“We demanded a lot of the students during the past week,” Weber said. “They responded professionally and worked very hard. That was evident by the high-quality shows they performed on June 19. There’s no doubt these young musicians are among the best in the state.”

Coupled with hard work, the members also participated in a pool party, bowling and a dance. Many are looking forward to the opportunity to use the instruction provided by the band directors when they return to their respective high school bands.

“During the past week, the students had a lot of fun mixed with the hard work of preparing for the Shrine Bowl performances,” said John Parsons, Grand Master of Nebraska Masons. “No one, however, lost sight of the main reason for the long hours and hard work. Patients at the Shriners Hospitals for Children will benefit the most from the band’s efforts this past week. We sincerely appreciate their contribution to raise awareness and funds to enable the Shriners to help even more children.”

Masonic lodges across Nebraska support local youth and community projects and humanitarian efforts including a statewide blood drive, child identification program and scholarships, Parsons said. At the statewide level, the Grand Lodge helps to maintain two homes: The Nebraska Masonic Home at Plattsmouth for Masons and their female relatives, and the Masonic-Eastern Star Home for Children in Fremont. The combined philanthropic efforts of Masonic-related organizations amount to more than $2 million a day.