15 Highlands students featured at AK Honors Band Festival

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The AK Valley Honors Band Festival is a concert featuring the best musicians in the AK Valley. This year, 15 of Highlands high school’s very own were featured in this festival. Abi Welling (Flute), Madalyn Heinle (Clarinet), Larkin Richards (Clarinet), Laina Reid (Bass Clarinet), Luna Vavourakis (Alto), Josh Beck (Alto), Austin Langer (French Horn), Braden O’Neill (French Horn), Ethan Sakala (Bassoon), Cole Bergquist (Trumpet), Evan Misejka (Trumpet), Greg Wygonick (Tenor), Andrew Valasek (Trombone), Savannah McIntyre (Trombone), and Ian Boyd (Tuba). This year’s guest conductor was a Pittsburgh native, Dr. Thomas Keck. Thomas Keck is the Director of Bands at Utah University. He has worked with bands at state music conventions and has appeared as a guest conductor and clinician with ensembles throughout the United States, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and China. He regarded this event as “[his] favorite honors festival he’s ever been a part of”. This being my first, and last AK concert, I would say it’s an amazing experience. To be on stage with the best musicians from the AK Valley was very humbling and a one of a kind learning experience you can only get from an event like this. Sophomore Josh Beck had his first AK concert this year as well. He says, “I did AK because I thought it would be an important experience especially since I want to continue doing music throughout my life. I enjoyed getting to play with other talented musicians and meet new people, and also got learn things about playing music in an ensemble”. This kind of representation of Highlands is what we need to recognize and let define our school. Sometimes this talent is overlooked, and the bad takes the spotlight over the good. But we can’t let that go on any longer. From now on, let’s recognize all the good that Highlands offers, instead of letting the bad take the attention of all watching.

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