ELDORA, Iowa — The football players are usually the featured attraction under the Friday night lights. However, a school pep band featuring members long past graduation takes center stage at South Hardin High School.

School band director Nathan Hardy cobbled together a band featuring students as young as twelve and adults after realizing the program was in jeopardy of closure.

“Before the school year, we lost our band teacher,” Hardy said. “Students need their outlet. Football players have football, cheerleaders have cheer, but what about the band kids? They needed to express themselves and show who they are, and that’s what I think we’ve done here.”

The band does feature some South Hardin High students, including two — Hardy’s son Kaden and trumpeter Eich Kroeger — who also plays on the football team.

“I go out and hit the other people just as hard as the others,” Kaden Hardy said. “I then go into the music room and bang on some drums.”

“I remember when I first picked up my trumpet in 5th grade,” said Kroeger. “It was like the Sword in the Stone, like I picked up Excalibur.”

However, other band members like trombonist Jay Stanish are far from their school days.

“I’m on the school board,” Stanish said. “Let’s just be honest and say that fifty years ago, I was a freshman in high school playing in a high school band.”

The multi-generational band also allows Stanish to play alongside his daughter, who plays clarinet.

“There’s probably four or five of us who are playing with our own kids,” Stanish said. “That’s something we never would have gotten to do without doing this.”

The band is still looking for a teacher to stabilize the program, but Hardy said he will bring the band to the sidelines during basketball season as well.

“You have cheerleaders hyping the crowd up, but the band is just as important,” Hardy said.