PT student musicians compete regionally

Special to The Leader
Posted 1/31/24



On Saturday, Feb. 3, more than 30 Port Townsend music students will travel to Port Angeles to participate in the Washington Music Educators Association North Olympic Regional …

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PT student musicians compete regionally




On Saturday, Feb. 3, more than 30 Port Townsend music students will travel to Port Angeles to participate in the Washington Music Educators Association North Olympic Regional Solo and Small Ensemble Festival at Port Angeles High School. The event is open to all music students who play a band or orchestra instrument, or who sing, in grades 6-12.

Students will perform as soloists or as part of an ensemble of 16 or fewer, and will receive feedback from an adjudicator who specializes in their instrument category.

High school students participating in this festival will also compete for the chance to attend the State Solo and Ensemble festival at Central Washington University in Ellensburg April 26-27.

“This festival is a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience performing outside of the large ensembles that we spend most of our class time rehearsing in,” Port Townsend schools orchestra teacher Caitlin Malarkey said. “Students who participate in this festival learn valuable music skills and bring them back to share with their peers.

“For many students, this is the first time they will get to experience the joy of making music, as an individual or part of a small ensemble,” she said. “A positive experience can translate into a lifelong pursuit of music performance.”

In addition to orchestra, the Port Townsend schools also have middle and high school band programs.

Two PT high school band students have been accepted to perform with the Washington State Honor Wind Symphony on Feb. 17 in Yakima, in conjunction with the Washington Music Educators bi-annual conference.

Senior flute player Indigo Gould and sophomore tuba player Jack Cole submitted their audition recordings in October to be considered for the honor band. Along with other outstanding students from across the state, Gould and Cole will rehearse for two days with Dr. Kaitlin Bove, director of bands at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California. The honor band will then perform at Davis High School in Yakima.

“The students who auditioned for the honor bands are all outstanding leaders in our school ensembles,” Port Townsend schools band instructor Kim Clarke said. “I am excited that Indigo and Jack will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform with additional student leaders from around the state.”

While this is Cole’s first honor band experience, Gould participated in a virtual version of the honor band in 2021.

Although not selected this year, four Blue Heron Middle School students recorded auditions in October for the Washington State Junior All-State Honor Band: Lillian Jones on clarinet, and Stella Bosley, Chloe Leonard-Stephens, and Sonia Olson on flute.

Traveling out of the area for music performances and competitions provides student musicians with valuable experiences. Expenses for these trips are often not included in school district budgets. For many years, local music booster groups have raised additional funds to allow for such trips.

“Most of the parents who were involved in last year’s music booster group have kids who graduated,” Port Townsend Music Boosters Board President Jeff Randall said. “We are now effectively restarting the program.”

The group’s goal is to raise approximately $20,000 this year, to support the orchestra and band teachers’ travel and performance goals.

“To do this, we are planning a series of fundraisers showcasing the music talent of our middle and high school students,” Randall said. “We plan to give Jefferson County residents the opportunity to enjoy our kids’ music, as well as support their aspirational travel and performance goals.”

Joining Randall on the Port Townsend Music Boosters’ non-profit board are Susan Pfundt and Kate Santerre. The group is seeking to add at least two more board members.

To learn more and see the latest news about upcoming events, visit the group’s Facebook page at online.