Connor Martin, Simon Rhett, Dalton Gonzales, Max Springer, Weston Wallace, and Jack Ogan were selected for a Seattle music clinic. photo provided
Connor Martin, Simon Rhett, Dalton Gonzales, Max Springer, Weston Wallace, and Jack Ogan were selected for a Seattle music clinic. photo provided

When the honor band results were revealed, six Sisters High School students and their band leader were playing a happy tune. Remarkably, all the local students who auditioned were selected to play in the Western International Band Clinic (WIBC). So, the weekend before Thanksgiving the six packed their instruments and concert clothes and headed to Seattle.

Each fall, students throughout the Pacific Northwest, along with Australia and parts of Canada, record auditions for WIBC - and the top musicians are chosen to attend. The Sisters students who attended this year are: Dalton Gonzales (senior, trumpet), Connor Martin (sophomore, saxophone), Jack Ogan (sophomore, tuba), Simon Rhett (sophomore, saxophone), Max Springer (sophomore, trumpet) and Weston Wallace (sophomore, clarinet).

"WIBC is one of my favorite events for students because they get to be challenged musically - by the music itself, the incredible conductors they bring in, and by their peers," said Tyler Cranor, director of bands for the Sisters School District. "They come back to our school with a renewed appreciation for what it takes to be great, which I hope is then passed along to the rest of the students."

Before making the trip, the students were excited about the opportunity.

"I am really looking forward to being in a more competitive environment where music is the main focus," said Martin. "I think participating in this event will help me improve as a musician overall, especially being surrounded by others who strive to heighten their abilities through hard work and practice."

WIBC high school students are placed in four 150-member bands where they rehearse for two full days under the direction of world-renowned guest conductors. On the third day, the four bands perform to a packed crowd of families. Students are provided with sheet music about two weeks before the event and are expected to arrive ready to play. In addition to practicing for their concerts, students hear evening concerts by visiting university groups and attend College Night, where they learn about music programs offered by a variety of universities.

WIBC began in 1979 as a convention for directors and students. It is held in Seattle each November.