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Marching band honors 10th Division veterans

Jane Stebbins

Willie Hoevers was among the throngs of people in attendance in Breckenridge last Fourth of July when the 10th Mountain Division unveiled a statue featuring a skiing soldier in tribute to those who fought in World War II.

Despite all the hard work that went into coordinating the event, Hoevers said he felt something was missing.

“There was a parade, lots of people – even a U.S. Army helicopter flyover,” Hoevers said. “But there was no marching band.”

The Dillon man thinks veterans deserve more.

Now, the Vietnam-era veteran is trying to organize a military style marching band featuring 70 to 125 of the best marching band musicians in the state. The band, named the 10th Mountain All State Marching Band, would be dedicated to recognizing the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and the state of Colorado.

“I think it’s important to recognize the accomplishments of 10th Mountain Division,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, we – Vail, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin – wouldn’t be here. I think it’s important for them to be honored.”

He talked with the people who put together the Fourth of July event in Breckenridge last summe and they told him they didn’t have a band because they had trouble locating one that was “acceptable or deserving” enough to participate in the statue’s unveiling.

Hoevers, who served as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force from 1971 to 1975, decided if none were readily available, he should form one himself. He envisions tubas, trombones, drums, piccolos, cymbals, French horns, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, trumpets – even a glockenspiel, a sort of miniature xylophone.

He hopes to serve as band director or drum major, directing John Sousa-type marches statewide at Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day events, as well as the Greeley Stampede and Cheyenne Frontier Days.

But first he needs to find musicians – and he’s only looking for the best.

“I want people who have been in bands and know what it’s all about,” he said. “One of the most important aspects is the discipline of it. I want it to look like one unit, like a U.S. Marine Corps marching band.”

Hoevers played drums in the marching band in high school and professionally for several years in the 1980s, but he wants to lead this band.

He has heard from members of the 10th Mountain Division who have said they would provide a Color Guard at each parade in which Hoever’s band participates. “I hope I get a lot of response,” he said. “I really hope this takes off.”

He said he hopes to form the nonprofit band by the end of March, hold auditions in April and have a band up to speed so they’ll be able to participate in each of the Summit County’s three Fourth of July parades.

“Who knows where we’ll go from there?” he said. “My overall ambition is to be invited to the Rose Bowl in a couple of years. I think that would be so cool.”

Auditions will include playing a short piece selected by the musician, sight-reading a piece provided by the auditioner and a short interview. Those with high school, college or military marching band experience are preferred.

To contact Hoevers or arrange an audition, visit http://10thallstateband.tripod.com.


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