Science Hill percussion ensemble

Science Hill percussion ensemble makes history to wrap up big week

The Science Hill percussion ensemble will become the first percussion ensemble from the state of Tennessee to perform at the highly-touted Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic when they make the trip  to Chicago, Illinois in December.

Science Hill Director of Percussion Dan McGuire received the invitation for the 72nd Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic earlier this week and he said that his group was humbled by the invitation.

“The amount of pride that I have is difficult to put into words, but I can safely say that the sweetest victories are the ones against impossible odds and these were impossible odds,” McGuire said. “We are not a big name program…so it’s a big, big honor.

“It speaks a lot to the support we have from our administration, it speaks a lot to the work of our students and our staff and the culture that we have in our program. There are a lot of good things happening here right now.”

The Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic is the largest band and orchestra clinic in the world. The Science Hill percussion ensemble not only competed against other percussion ensembles, but also against other chamber ensembles (saxophone, flute, brass, etc.) from all over the country. Hundreds of groups apply each year, with only one, at most two, percussion ensembles selected to perform each year.

Between 25-30 Science Hill students will be making the trip, including Adeline Preston. The junior said that she was surprised and honored when McGuire informed the percussion ensemble.

“This is pretty huge,” said Preston, who will be a senior when the group makes the trip. “There are only a handful of chamber ensembles that get to go a year and we are going to be one of them, and that within itself is really cool.”

Science Hill senior Caleb Lonon won’t be able to make the trip with the group, since it will be after his graduation, but he was still all smiles knowing that his bandmates will get a once in a lifetime experience.

“It’s an extremely big honor,” Lonon said. “The competition (to get in) is insane and there are hundreds groups from all over the world.

The invitation wraps up a big week for the Science Hill percussion ensemble as McGuire also said that his group captured eight out of 10 finalist positions in the Statewide Solo Competition for the state of Tennessee. Lonon, along with Noah Ford, Kaleb Freeman, Derrick Fielden, Luke Lawson, McKinley Reed, Tuck Ledbetter and Turner McCabe will now compete in the final round at the Statewide Day of Percussion on April 21 at the University of Tennessee.

The opportunity to be a member of the band has been big for Preston, who said that her time with the band has been invaluable and that she has picked up plenty of life lessons.

“It teaches you to have a solid work ethic, because you have deadlines; you have to know this much by a certain day and if you don’t, then you’re in trouble,” Preston said. “You always have to perform what you are asked to at a high enough level, every time.”

Members of the Science Hill percussion ensemble, as well as other ensembles from across Johnson City Schools, will be having their Night of Percussion on April 13. Tickets at the door are $10.

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