Rosemount High School band marches for donations

by Brent Honcharenko
Special to Sun Thisweek
Dakota County Tribune

Members of the Rosemount High School Marching Band will canvas city neighborhoods Saturday, May 20, in a fundraising event cleverly named a “March-a-Thon.”

The students of the award-winning marching band will go house-to-house, knocking on doors seeking financial donations to help support their trip to New York City this fall to represent Rosemount and the state of Minnesota in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The parade is traditionally known for kicking off the holiday season with unparalleled pomp and pageantry. The scale of the parade is immense, with more than 3.5 million people in attendance and more than 50 million viewers who tune in to watch it on television.

The band students are very excited to represent their home town, but their appearance in New York goes beyond the city limits of Rosemount. It’s been 28 years since a Minnesota high school band has marched in the Macy’s Parade.

Taking a band of this size to New York won’t come cheap, and the students will be working hard to raise funds over the next six months. It’s expected to cost each of the nearly 300 band members about $2,000 a piece to go and experience this once-in-a-lifetime event. The band’s group fundraising efforts are designed to ensure that each student has the opportunity to make the trip.

This is the second time in three years that the Rosemount marching band will perform on the national stage. The band participated in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2014 and hosted several successful community fundraising initiatives to make that trip possible.

Band director Leon Sieve was a featured speaker at the recent Rosemount State of the City Address where he expressed his gratitude to city officials and business leaders for their continued support of this program.

“It is an honor to be here and share with you the excitement of the Rosemount High School Band Program as we prepare for another performance opportunity on the world’s stage and set our sights on New York City and the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that will be held on November 23, 2017.

“Members of the band program are involved in all aspects of student life at Rosemount High School. From every sport, academic club and honor society, the members of the band are represented heavily. Our band students participate in honors and Advanced Placement courses, take challenging and rigorous course work, they volunteer and work throughout the community and south metro and still have time to be active teenagers.”

Sieve reported that he and the other band directors completed the Macy’s Parade application over 14 months ago. The process included an application, video submissions, documents of achievement and letters of recommendation.

One letter, which Sieve shared during his address to the city representatives, submitted by Ken Martinson, founder of, contained only three paragraphs:

“In a typical letter of recommendation, I would tell you the Rosemount High School Band from Minnesota is a master of musical and visual effect. I would also tell you that a Tournament of Roses official said the band exceeded all expectations after performing in Pasadena.

“This is not a typical band, and not a typical letter. For that reason, I simply say: Do not miss the opportunity to invite this band!

“I give Rosemount High School my highest personal recommendation.”

Only 10 bands are selected to participate in the Macy’s Parade each year, out of more than 100 applicants, and the RHS marching band received its invitation on its first application.

As exciting as this opportunity is for the students, it’s just as exciting for the residents of Rosemount to have their high school marching band participate in both of the nation’s premier parades in such a short period of time.

The “March-a-Thon” is an opportunity for the students to meet and to thank the residents of Rosemount for their continued support.

Donors contributing $20 or more will receive an official “2017 RHS Marching Band Macy’s Parade” window cling. Those donating $50 or more will receive a lapel pin customized for the band’s participation in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Donations are tax deductible and can also be made via the band’s website,