Plath making a journey between Milwaukee and Mankato on Friday

NEW ULM — Minnesota Valley Lutheran principal and band instructor Tim Plath definitely has his work cut out for him on Friday.

Plath will be leading seven MVL band members at the WELS National Band Fest at Wisconsin Lutheran High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this coming weekend.

The MVL band students were invited to attend Band Fest and it became a dilemma when the Chargers qualified for the Section 2A championship game, which will be played at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

“It’s definitely been interesting, this last week has been interesting,” Plath said. “The kids that are going to this band festival in Milwaukee, that was decided before Christmas and they had that commitment that was in place for them. Then we had this come along with the team doing so well and I’d initially planned that we wouldn’t play [at MSU] but we had enough pleas from different people so I thought about it. My wife and I have done similar type trips before, we’re both coming back [on Friday] and drive back again on Friday night.”

The MVL Band Fest students will be rehearsing Friday morning in Milwaukee as part of a large 125-member band of students from WELS schools across the country. At about 10:30 a.m. on Friday morning, Plath will head west to Mankato and will get back in time for the MVL boys’ basketball section championship game against Springfield, which begins at 6 p.m. on Friday night.

There, he will lead the pep band and cheer on the Chargers with the rest of the team’s fans. If that doesn’t sound like enough travel, he and his wife will head back to Madison, Wisconsin and stay overnight there. On Saturday morning he and his wife will meet up with the students again for a 9 a.m. rehearsal. The students in Milwaukee will have a concert at 2 p.m. on Sunday and the concert will have students from 21 different Lutheran high schools across the country.

“I’m thankful that my wife is going with, because then we can trade off driving and I’ll get a little bit of sleep here and there,” Plath said. “I told one of the faculty members that if I kind of look incoherent on Monday morning, then they know why.”

While the Band Fest was something that was planned months ago, it’s not as easy to predict high school sports.

He said that the band students in Milwaukee will follow the game through social media, texting or following online.

In total, there will be 712 miles driven to ensure the pep band plays at Friday’s game, or about 658 minutes of total drive time.