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Seven high school musicians to play at conference

Seven Vashon High School musicians were accepted to the Western International Band Conference. They are, left to right, Brooks Benner, Dylan Basurto, Madeline Osborne, Tynan Lazarus, Jack Johannessen, Emory Miedema-Boyajian and Dylan Greene. - Leslie Brown/staff photo
Seven Vashon High School musicians were accepted to the Western International Band Conference. They are, left to right, Brooks Benner, Dylan Basurto, Madeline Osborne, Tynan Lazarus, Jack Johannessen, Emory Miedema-Boyajian and Dylan Greene.
— image credit: Leslie Brown/staff photo

Seven Vashon High School band students auditioned for and were accepted to a prestigious band conference that takes place later this month.

The seven will take part in the Western International Band Conference Nov. 20 to 23 in SeaTac — a program with four bands and hundreds of high school musicians from six states.

“It’s an incredibly difficult competition, and it’s quite an honor to get in,” said Vashon High School band teacher Ken Quehrn. “This really speaks highly of them.”

At the four-day conference, the students will learn music under the tutelage of four to five guest conductors. And in a unique twist, several of the conductors are also composers of the musical scores the students will perform.

“To have conductors who also composed the piece you’re playing, that’s pretty cool,” said french horn player Madeline Osborne.

“It’s not an interpretation of the piece,” added Quehrn. “You’re getting it straight from the horse’s mouth.”

He said he’s proud of the seven musicians, who are some of the best performers in the high school’s band program.

“These kids need this kind of program to see what music is like beyond high school,” he said. “They’ll see what other players are doing. This is especially important if they want to do music after high school.”

The costs of the conference, about $400 for each student participating, are being covered by the bequest of Peter Bruchas, a musician and Vashon High School alum who left $320,000 to the Island’s music program.

“A couple of the kids would not have been able to do this, were it not for that,” said Quehrn. “They’re all very deserving.”

The students who will participate said they’re excited about the chance to perform with musicians from around the state and the five states surrounding Washington.

“It’s really interesting to meet everybody,” Osborne said. “The best part is playing good music with good musicians.”

Tynan Lazarus, a trumpet player, said he’s looking forward to playing in a larger group than the Vashon High band.

“You feel like you’re hot stuff on Vashon,” he said. “But when you go out there, ... it puts you in perspective and shows you what you could be.”

Freshman Brooks Benner, a bass clarinet player, concurred.

“It gives you a lot of room so you see where you can improve,” he said.

Band heads to Disneyland

The Vashon High School band has been accepted to perform at Disneyland in February. The band will march down Main Street in the theme park as part of its Southern California six-day tour. The band did a video audition to play at Disneyland, and band teacher Ken Quehrn said he’s honored to have his band perform there. Band members are fundraising to cover expenses of the trip. They’ve held several car washes and plan to hold more. Contact Quehrn at 463-9171, ext. 115, for more information.

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