By Steven Law
Special to the Chronicle
PAGE – Three Page High School students have been selected to attend the Western International Band Clinic.
Antonia Muskat, Timothy Snell, and Cailin Baughman were the only students from Arizona invited to attend the prestigious event.
Muskat, a senior, will be performing with the Thunderbird Honor Band as third clarinet, fourth chair. Snell, a freshman, will be performing with the Sunbird Honor Band as first chair Tuba.
Baugham is a second horn alternate and will attend if a student from another school is unable to attend. Page High School Band Director David Johnson will also attend the event with his students.
The Western International Band Clinic takes place Nov. 23-25 in Seattle, Washington. This is the clinic’s 41st year. Only 600 students are invited to International Honors Band, and they come from all 50 states and from all over the world. During the event those students are divided into four bands of 150 students.
“This is a big deal! This is a big honor for these students,” Johnson said.
To be selected a student must first complete an online audition. The student records his or her audition and upload it online. Anonymous judges then view, rank, and select the students based on the strength of their performance.
Besides being one of the biggest honors a high school musician can achieve, attendance at the clinic will also be a big learning opportunity for those students that attend, said Johnson. Johnson attended the International Honors Band all four years that he was a high school student.
“They’ll get to work with many noted composers and music educators,” Johnson said. “They will return from this better musicians. I am encouraging them to impart their ideas and what they learn with their fellow classmates when they return. That, I believe, will better our ensemble as a whole.”
Johnson said one of the biggest advantages that will likely emerge from attending International Honors Band will be a chance for his students to meet band members from other schools, and share ideas and collaborate. If they continue with a career in music they may very well continue collaborating with these new friends on music projects for the rest of their lives.
“What this does for these kids is phenomenal,” Johnson said. “They will better learn their craft, gain a lot of confidence and learn directly from some of today’s greatest musical minds. It’s a huge builder for these kids. I’m very excited to be a part of it.”
While attending the clinic, Johnson plans to learn new repertoires for his band and select some new music that will benefit his program. It will give him first access to the year’s newest music and material.
“I think that will be great for our program,” he said.
This will be Muskat’s second time going to the International Honor Band conference. She also attended last year, and she says it was one of the highlights of her year.
“It was a great experience making new friends, learning from different directors and playing music with new people,” Muskat said.
She says she returned to Page with an increased love for music and her ability to play it. One of her favorite clinics was given by one of the nation’s most well-respected and top musicians who encouraged her to return to the classroom and become one of its leaders and share with them what she learned.
“That is something she has certainly done,” Johnson said. “Not only did she bring back an increased level of music knowledge and ability, her experience at the clinic also increased her passion and love for music and she brought that back with her as well, and she encouraged our students to audition for this year’s clinic.”
Johnson says that Muskat has become one of his program’s leaders.
“There have been times this year when I’ve had to leave the class, and even when I have a substitute, I leave her in charge and she runs the class for me,” Johnson added.