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Award-winning Pella Marching Dutch look to continue their success

Come January, they'll be representing Pella in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California for the third time.

PELLA, Iowa — When we think about powerhouse programs that have won multiple championships and have established a reputation of greatness — their preparation, attention to detail and hard work are among the things that make them great.

The Pella Marching Dutch certainly belong in that category as a program that takes pride in both its success as well as the process.

"Usually we all like never take a day off, like never take a rep off because if you take that rep off, you might take that performance off," said Elisabeth Pumphrey, a senior drum major. 

Fundamentals, no reps off — those are they types of things you often hear in the context of sports.

While band may not be considered a sport, it sure does share a lot of the same elements. 

Junior Drum Major Stephen Gaul said that, like many teams, the Marching Dutch are always striving to be the best they can be.

"It's not are we gonna try, it's we're the Marching Dutch. We're gonna put every effort in," Gaul said. "We're gonna be great because good isn't good enough — it's a great phrase that encompasses our band a lot."

Just like in sports, each individual has a role to play in the team's overall success. Band members have formations, songs, visuals and movements to memorize, much like players. 

Members emphasize that what they do requires a unique precision that allows them to move in sync and in rhythm.

"So, it's very intricate. It takes a lot of work and it really takes every single person doing their own work to get the show to look how it does," said Junior Drum Major Tess Hopkins.

And the Marching Dutch have the accolades to show for it.

They have over 150 first place finishes and 39 consecutive Division 1 "Superior" ratings at the Iowa High School Music Association State Marching Band Festival.

They're also recognized by the IHSMA as an exemplary music program.

Come January, they'll be representing Pella in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California for the third time — the Marching Dutch also attended in 1988 and 2003.

"It's great to be part of a group that's striving towards the same goal and just constantly working to get better and we also have a lot of fun while doing it. It's just fun to be good," Hopkins said. 

But what's ultimately at the heart of what they do is their love for performing.

"When you're in a stadium full of people and you've got this amazing band on the field and you hit that big impact moment, and the crowd goes wild, it's like a moment that I wish everybody could have because the rush of adrenaline is so fun. It feels so amazing," Pumphrey said. 

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