The C.M. Russell High School Symphonic Band will be on their way to the Emerald City as they will be performing in this year's Northwest Music Educators Conference in Seattle.
This will be CMR's first appearance in 30 years.
CMR Director of Bands Christopher Kloker said, "It’s been a fun challenge. We have worked hard to set goals and to hit certain levels. They’ve worked hard fundraising, they’ve been given good repertoire, that’s been a good challenge for them and it’s really exciting to watch them grow."
The conference is a collection of music educators from the Pacific Northwest. There will be six states represented - Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Wyoming and Montana. CMR is the only high school band to be granted a performance hour. They are also one of only three Montana groups invited, with one being a university choir.
CMR senior Courtney Western said, "It’s a pretty big deal because no one from CMR as a band has gone to All-Northwest in thirty years, and when you go to All-Northwest, it’s pretty much a competition between six states in the Northwest, and it’s every other two years, so it’s a huge honor that our band was able to go this year, especially since no one has gone in such a long time.”
She added, "Overall, it's a big deal for us because it incentivizes the hard work in the band program and makes sure that we have a goal that we can look forward, rather than just a goal of having programs at the high school level."
CMR senior Adam Elkin recollected his moments being in middle school band, adding that the CMR Band was a major influence.
Elkin stated, "When I became a freshman, playing with them (students) was a lot of fun. I felt really welcomed. It's really a family experience. Now, as a senior, I'm trying my best to replicate that for the kids who are younger than me, because it's really important to feel welcomed in band. That's one of the things that's most important to me."
Being accepted into all Northwest is just that more exciting for the next generation of band kids to look up to and do their best to maintain the standard of excellence that has been in CMR band for so many years.
With the amount of work and preparation it took to get to this stage, students say they are ready to showcase their skillset.
Making their appearance for the first time in decades, students say it’s a chance to prove themselves.
CMR senior Kalub Janike stated, "I’m really excited to show the music educators what we do, because there is a ton of music educators that travel there, so I’m just looking forward to show everyone what a small town can do.”
The Northwest Music Educators Conference will take place on February 17th.
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