Academy students from all over the United States are coming to Walla Walla University’s campus to participate in the biennial Honor Band Festival under the direction of associate professor of music and festival director, Brandon Beck. After individually practicing for months on pieces selected specifically for this festival, these students will come together as a band and perform on Feb. 11 at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the University Church.
Every year, WWU’s music department hosts close to 50 high school students to play in a selective honor band at the university. Students arrive on the afternoon of Feb. 8, a few days before the performances, to give them time to come together and practice for the first time as a full band. In order to qualify for the honor band, each student must partake in auditions personally conducted by Beck and prove their proficiency in the level of music that will be performed. These students come from various schools across the United States. This year, they hail from states including California, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington.
This festival challenges its participants to achieve a higher skill level in music and gives them an experience comparable to being part of an all-state music ensemble. “I’m hoping that they will have a positive experience making great music that will give them inspiration to continue playing after high school,” says Beck, “I enjoy seeing them get excited and create music at a potentially higher level, getting them excited about a possible lifelong participation in music.”
Beck has been director of the band and wind instrument program at WWU since 2000. In his position as associate professor of music, he teaches conducting, methods classes, private instruction in low brass instruments, and also directs the Wind Symphony, Steel Band, Brass Ensembles, and the Symphony Orchestra.
Both Honor Band Festival performances are free and open to the public. The University Church is located at 212 SW 4th St., College Place.
Posted February 7, 2017