FARGO — Bob and Lisa Otterson will have a child on each side of the field at Friday’s Football Championship Subdivision semifinals game — but their children don’t play football.
Maret Otterson plays the clarinet in North Dakota State University’s Gold Star Marching Band. Her brother, Paul Otterson, plays the trombone in South Dakota State University’s Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band.
“I am very excited,” Maret said about having both bands there. “It’ll be fun because the whole family will be there. It’s been a long time since my brother and I have performed in the same proximity. The last time was May 2017.”
Parents Bob and Lisa are both connected to the Jackrabbits. Bob received his master’s degree in journalism from SDSU. He teaches in the communications and journalism department and is assistant to the dean in the agriculture, food and environmental sciences college.
Aside from his daughter playing clarinet in the marching band, Bob has a slight connection to NDSU, as well. He earned three graduate credits through a class he took there.
Lisa previously taught philosophy courses at SDSU and is now the director of development for the pharmacy college. Through her work, she is able to attend nearly every Jackrabbits home game.
“It’s really fun,” Lisa said. “Honestly, it’s a good reminder to me the work I do is for kids like Paul. The work I do impacts college students just like him. That makes me feel even more proud.”
Lisa said she hopes the Jackrabbits win, but will be there primarily to cheer for her kids.
Maret attends Minnesota State Moorhead, so Bob might wear Dragons gear to Friday’s FCS semifinals game.
“I’m not guaranteeing that,” Bob said with a laugh. “The little conformist in me wants to support the Dragons.”
Maret is a freshman majoring in speech language hearing sciences. Through the tri-college arrangement between Concordia, MSUM and NDSU, she is able to participate in the Gold Star Marching Band.
Lisa and Bob were able to come to Fargo for the Bison football home opener to see her first-ever halftime performance.
“It was really fun,” Maret said. “It was really nice to see them.”
Paul is a sophomore majoring in operations management at SDSU's engineering college. He said being in the Pride of the Dakotas was a dream of his.
“The first couple months it was surreal,” Paul said about being in the band. “I’ve always wanted to be in the Pride, it’s part of the reason I went to SDSU. The Pride of the Dakotas takes the program seriously, we really put on a great show.”
Both he and Maret have been involved in music from a young age. They each started taking piano lessons when they were about 5 years old. They started elementary school in Wahpeton, N.D., and picked up band during that time.
They carried their musical passion into high school, and were in the Brookings High School (S.D.) marching band together.
In high school, the band took a 20-plus hour bus ride to Sherburne, N.Y., which is about 55 miles southeast of Syracuse. In Sherburne, they performed at a parade and a jazz competition.
They celebrated Maret’s birthday on the trip and spent time in New York City, a trip they each consider a favorite memory.
Another standout experience for them was traveling to Minneapolis with the Brookings marching band for the Youth in Music marching band competition at U.S. Bank Stadium. Paul performed a solo during the band’s show.
“That was a really cool experience,” Paul said. “There were 30-plus bands there and we were one of the smallest.”
Maret and Paul have formed many friendships and relationships through marching band along the way. And, even though it might have sometimes been forced time together, their own relationship was strengthened through it.
“Marching band has really got me out of my comfort zone, which was hard to do in high school,” Maret said. “Having my brother there helped me do that. It was so cool having him.”