Westmount band sets tone at music competition
Education: Grade 7s win gold at Alberta International Band festival
By: John Barlow
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 11:48 am
In its first year the Grade 7 Westmount School band has already set the tone for success.
Last week the students of the Grade 7 beginner band won gold at the Alberta International Band Festival in Calgary, marking one of the first significant awards for a program at the new Okotoks school.
Band teacher Tom Taylor said he was not surprised by the band’s success because his students had potential and worked hard.
“I knew from experience this was a really good group,” said Taylor. “One of the reasons I take bands to festivals is so they can hear other bands and see where they stand.”
The music festival was held over two days at Bishop Carroll High School and included 36 bands from across southern Alberta.
Some of the band members admitted they were nervous heading into the competition, but also understand the significance of winning the gold medal for their school — a first for Westmount which opened in September.
Abigail Clutterbuck, a trumpet player, said bringing home the top prize was a special achievement for the band.
“It means a lot because we are a new band and it means a lot to the school because we are building a reputation,” said Clutterbuck.
The win was even more special knowing how committed the band members were in preparation for the festival, Clutterbuck said.
“The best memory is all of us playing together and working hard together,” she said. “We did our best and even if we didn’t win at least we knew we did our hardest.”
At the festival the Westmount students listened to two bands prior to taking the stage, which gave them an opportunity to gauge the competition.
The Westmount band then played their two selections including “Heroes and Glory” and “Anasazi”. After they finished their performance the band members knew they did all the could.
“There were some nerves,” said Payton Burbank, a trombone player. “When we started playing the nerves went away and there were only a few minor errors. No one wanted to let the band down. It is like a football team, everybody has to do their part or the play crumbles.”
William Maciejowski, an oboe player with the band, said he was confident Westmount could win the gold medal, but when it was announced they were extremely excited.
“I was really proud of my band,” he said. “I thought we could get it so I was not completely obliterated when I heard we won, but it still felt good and it was really cool.
Maciejowski said he was confident simply because the band played well.
“All of our timing during the competition was spot on,” he said.
Finally, clarinet player Dorah Ruben said Westmount School’s band deserved to win because of all the preparation they did prior to the festival.
“I was so excited because we worked our butts off,” said Ruben.