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Oak Harbor beats the bands, except one
After 10 months and the peddling of 10,000 candy bars, the Oak Harbor Middle School Symphonic Band finally earned their trip to Disneyland and the National Heritage Music Festival in Anaheim, Calif.
Earlier this month, the 56-member band competed against nine other schools and took second place.
The students were led by director Patrick Manuel in three pieces that were critiqued by nationally known music adjudicators. Also, Manuel was awarded a plaque detailing his efforts and successes as a teacher.
“It was a tremendous experience for the kids and for us chaperones,” parent Brian Jones said. “I believe seeing music at this level encouraged several students to reconsider band when they enter high school. Having seen all their performances the past two years, they saved their best for when it counts. They were spectacular and missed a nationally accredited Gold rating by only two points. Not bad at all for a middle school band. The kids, their parents and this community enabled this great learning experience.”
Between August and April, the students held multiple fundraisers like a benefit dinner and concert, car washes, holiday events, bake sales, Appleebee’s nights, candy sales and Deception Pass tour ticket sales. Additionally, the students solicited donations from organizations and community members. The kids were able to raise the $50,000-plus needed to send their band, director and 17 chaperones on the trip.
In total, 90 musical groups, 30 choirs and 60 instrumental ensembles came to the competition from across the globe. The event was held in three different locations over the two days and awards were given in Disneyland’s California Adventure Park at the Hyperion Theatre.
The group will add their second place award to a few other honors they’ve collected.
Last year the band was selected to play at the Washington Music Educators Association State Conference in Yakima after sending in an audition CD. Though 26 bands sent in recordings, they were the only one selected, and in Anacortes last year, they achieved the top score of Superior at a junior band contest.
Manuel’s students are required to practice 150 minutes outside of class each week and many take private lessons.
The band’s next performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 2, at the middle school. The band will also be playing at the all-district band festival held at the high school on Tuesday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m.