The band goes south

The clarinet section

Last week three buses of students in the Senior Concert Band were driven down to the familiar, southern country known to all as the United States. They went there to participate in the Central Washington University music festival in the remote town of Ellensburg. It was an eye-opening experience for most new members of the band as this trip was the first international competition that they have attended. In addition to the 114 members of the band, four chaperones as well as Headmaster Dr. Tom Matthews went to help out and enjoy the weekend.

The group left early on Wednesday, March 1st. Crossing the border went smoothly as planned; only a few students had to get I-94s (special documents for non-Canadian passports). After heading south for about an hour, the group stopped at a local food court before continuing on their journey to Ellensburg. It was late afternoon when the band finally arrived at the hotel. That evening, the band got an opportunity to play in the Central Washington University’s concert hall. They also had the privilege to work with Dr. Larry Gookin, the Director of Bands at Central Washington University.

The next day, the Senior Concert Band performed Variations on a Korean Folk Song, In Storm and Sunshine, and Festive Overture at the competition. The adjudicators and the conductors, Mr. Marko Rnic and Dr. Dean Markel, were all impressed at the magnificent tone and style of the performance. Although there were a few slips and squeaks during Variations on a Korean Folk Song and Festive Overture, the last piece, In Storm and Sunshine, was flawless. Overall, the band performed extremely well and impressed even the more critical American audiences.

The music teachers were pleased with the trip as well. Mr. Rnic, the Senior Concert Band conductor for over 20 years, was extremely happy with the band’s performance and the trip overall. When the band returned, he told his students, “You guys maintained high standards. You guys were brilliant. Dr. Matthews enjoyed your performance, but most importantly he loved the way you learned.”

The boys had a wonderful weekend with many memorable experiences such as the super-sized meals in America, and the bonding experience as a group. This would have never happened if not for the months of planning by the music department and the continuous support of Dr. Matthews.