FEBRUARY 10, 1997
Woodinville High School concert band trumpet section in rehearsal.
Photo by Deborah Stone.
by Deborah Stone
The Heritage International Music Festival, a prestigious competition for high school bands across the U.S. and Canada, will be held this year in Anaheim, California, May 8-12. The Festival only invites schools with top-rated bands, so it is a distinct honor that Woodinville High School has been asked to participate.
According to WHS band director Jim Rice, the school's bands (jazz, orchestra, and concert) have received much recognition in other festivals they have entered in past years, sweeping first place in all categories. He believes this has led to an invitation to the Heritage Festival this year.
What has made the WHS bands so good? "The kids are talented, they're serious about quality, and have learned to understand the benefits of hard work, commitment, teamwork, and selflessness," says Rice. He believes these characteristics add up to excellence in musical performance, as well as lead to the formation of responsible adults with solid values.
Rice, a music teacher veteran of twenty years, has been at WHS for the past seven, establishing a tradition of excellence and high standards that have helped elevate the quality of the school's bands. "There is a wide range of support from the faculty and the administration for the music program here at WHS," says Rice, "plus the willingness on the students' part to strive towards the best they can do."
Rice is too modest to extoll his own contributions to the program, but without his strengths as a teacher and leader, the program would probably not have achieved the success it is enjoying now. "Jim is a fantastic teacher because he brings dedication to his work and shows such patience with the students. Staff, parents, and students all appreciate him, as he's an all-over quality person," said Jan Peterson, WHS Assistant Principal.
Sophomore Liz Ward adds, "He's fun, but he gets the work done." Another student, Brandon Wilson says, "He's excellent. He's the best teacher in the District." It is no surprise to learn that 90-95% of students who enter Rice's band classes as sophomores continue on through their senior year.
All four bands, approximately 120 students, will be attending the Heritage Festival which usually hosts almost 3,500 students total. Cost per student is about $400, which includes airfare, hotel, festival fees, and some meals. To raise this money, a variety of methods are being utilized including selling candy and pizzas, hosting a junior high band festival in March, and implementing a benefactor program. The latter involves inviting local businesses to become benefactors of the band progam through a monetary contribution. For more information about becoming a benefactor or to help with fundraising efforts, please contact Jim Rice at 489-6736.
To catch the WHS bands in action, they will be performing at the high school on March 6th and 13th in combination with the Leota Jr. High bands. The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and are free, but donations will be accepted.