Saturday, February 25, 2012

All-State Wind Ensemble 2012

The All-State Wind Ensemble 2012, held on Monday February 20th in Yakima, featured sixty-three of the states' finest high school musicians under the direction of Marcellus Brown and is the premier All-State honor band. Of the four saxophonists chosen to perform, two were my students: Andrew Nelson 1st Chair Alto and Soprano saxophones, and Benjamin Zobel Baritone saxophone.

Although the concert began at 3:00 the journey began at 8:30 in Kirkland with my wife Jennifer and I gathering cold weather clothing in case we got stuck driving through the pass, dog toys and snacks for Koby our Bernese Mountain Dog mix, and of course our morning lattes as we wouldn't be able to function otherwise.

Morning Tonic :)

We left at 10:30 since the trip to Yakima offers a spectacular scenic drive and photo opportunity via Canyon Road off of I-90 just west of the I-82 interchange (Canyon Road follows along Yakima River and takes only slightly longer than the interstate). Jennifer and I enjoy every opportunity to travel through there.

Yakima River
The river hosts the best trout fishing in the state and fly fishermen are abundant (catch and release only)--we passed many, I didn't take their pictures.

Canyon Road
The road itself is good and generally traffic is light.

Canyonside accented by basalt rubble in B&W
The magnitude of the canyon is lost a little in this picture due to the posted size--note the pine just right of center in the foreground for scale.

Koby overwhelmed by tough choices...
Sniff, mark the territory or chase the ball?
There are several camping/picnicking/rest areas along the river; Koby is committed to claim several of them as his very own.

Columnar basalt formations

The Columbia River Basalt Group is a unique geologic feature which shaped much of the area and is on vivid display throughout the canyon.

...on to Yakima and the Sundome.

All three All-State band ensembles were arranged together on the floor to minimize set-up (and time) between performances; the Wind Ensemble was on the left end canted toward the center, presenting an unusual viewing angle.

Andrew Nelson 1st Chair Soprano/Alto Saxophone All-State Wind Ensemble 2012 Yakima, WA
Andrew Nelson
1st Chair Alto/Soprano Saxophone
All-State Wind Ensemble 2012

This is Andrew Nelson's senior year and the second year he has been chosen to participate in All-State; last year Andrew was 1st Chair Alto Saxophone in the All-Northwest Band which is held in odd numbered years.

Benjamin Zobel Baritone Saxophone All-State Wind Ensemble 2012 Yakima, WA
Benjamin Zobel
Bartitone Saxophone
All-State Wind Ensemble 2012

Benjamin Zobel is a junior this year and it's his first year participating in All-State--way to start at the top! Benjamin is interested in pursuing a career in jazz performance and audio engineering.

Marcellus Brown All-State Wind Ensemble 2012 Conductor
Marcellus Brown
All-State Wind Ensemble 2012

Mr. Brown's sincerity and warmth were evident in his demeanor, working with him was a wonderful opportunity for all the students involved.

Foreground left to right: Jennifer Wilson, Scott Nelson and Mark Zobel Judi Nelson is just barely visible behind Jennifer
Foreground: Jennifer Wilson, Scott Nelson and Mark Zobel
Judi Nelson is behind Jennifer

It's gratifying to see parents involved and supporting their son or daughter's music education; parental support is essential to a student's development. Congratulations to both the Nelsons and the Zobels!

All-State performances showcase the highest achievements of individual students and display the finest qualities of our states' public music education system. As always it was a pleasure hearing them perform.

For more information:
Private Saxophone Lessons with Robert H. Wilson
Washington Music Educators Association
National Association for Music Education (formerly MENC)
Marcellus Brown--Boise State University
Canyon Road off I-90 to Yakima
Columbia River Basalt Group
Performance Pictures

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