Time to get in formation - the Hastings High School Marching Band is in Colorado.

Monday, July 2, the HHS Marching Band left on its 2018 tour that will last until July 7. This year's trip led the musicians straight to Greeley, Colo., for the Independence Day parade there.

The parade route will go right through Greeley downtown and in past years has been estimated to draw nearly 80,000 people, according to Emily Chandler, the HGS band director.

The summer band tour, Chandler said, is a fun way for the band to practice for parades and performances that come up later in the summer and fall.

The teens started practicing mid-May, dedicating themselves two days a week to learn "the building blocks of marching basics," Chandler said.

Coincidentally, the theme that was picked for this year's competition season for the band was Stagecoach - perfectly fitting for the trip to the West. The piece chosen for the parade tune will be "Magnificent Seven" to go along with the theme.

The band does the tour every two years and has visited such places St. Louis, Michigan and even Calgary, Canada. This is the fourth time that the band has chosen Colorado as its destination.

"We try not to repeat places to close together though," Chandler said. "That way, since it's every two years, no kids go to the same place twice. We want them to be able to see different parts of the country."

As far as how the destination is chosen, one factor seems most important - in order to keep costs down, they look for places that can be driven to overnight in a coach bus.

The marching band will hold a fundraiser 5-9 p.m. July at Chipotle in Hastings. Customers must mention they are there for the fundraiser when purchasing. Half of the proceeds from sales that night will go to the band.