BLACKFOOT — Four students from Blackfoot High School (BHS) qualified to participate in the National Association of Music Education (MENC) All-Northwest Conference Feb. 16-20 in Bellevue, Wash.
About 1,000 outstanding high school musicians from the six Northwest states (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming) will participate in the All-Northwest Band, Orchestra, Treble Choir, Mixed Choir, Jazz Band and/or Jazz Choir.
To be selected, each student was recorded online performing college level pieces. Screeners selected the students who will participate.
The musicians will rehearse under the direction of the world-renowned conductors and present their final concerts in Seattle's Benaroya Hall.
All-Northwest is a biannual conference. In Idaho, during opposite years, students qualify for the All-State conference.
BHS senior Daniel Burt will play trombone in the 20-member Jazz Band. This is the second time he will attend All-Northwest.
"It's great to play alongside real great players; we learn from each other," said Daniel.
"We get to work with people who are better than you," said BHS junior Bobby Cannon. He plays the flute and will play in the 250-piece All-Northwest Band.
"It's a great experience with great people and great directors," said sophomore second soprano Ashley Anderson. She will sing with the 250-voice Treble Choir, the all-women's choir.
Paul Cannon plays the French horn and will participate in the All-Northwest Band.
This year, BHS band director Jan Eddington is in charge of the All-Northwest Band.
"I work with the guest conductors and help determine where the musicians will sit in their sections," Eddington said. "I work with the logistics."
Many professional musicians credit their honor group experience as crucial in their decision to choose music as a career. Thousand of others whose career paths took them in other directions have great memories of participating in this inspiring and motivating musical experience. They claim that it was a life-changing experience for them.
Well-known Northwesterners who have participated in past years' honor groups include world-renowned trumpeters Doc Severinson and Allen Vizzutti, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist David Horsey, 2008 National Teacher of the Year Andrea Peterson and jazz saxophonist Kenny G.
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