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Arlington band students receive honors
BELLEVUE — Two Arlington High School Band members will be getting their chance to shine on a broader stage Feb. 20.
Flute-player Savannah Leavitt has been selected for the Washington Music Educators Association All-State Band, while clarinet-player and fellow AHS junior Andrew Clark has been selected for the National Association for Music Education All-Northwest Band. Both bands will begin rehearsals in Bellevue Feb. 17 to prepare for their concerts there on Feb. 20.
Leavitt took up the flute in fifth grade after hearing her cousins play, while Clark credited his school music teachers with feeding his interest in the clarinet since he started playing in sixth grade.
“Once I started taking lessons, I didn’t want to stop,” Leavitt said. “I wanted to join the band right away. The flute is so light and cheerful, but there’s a lot that you can do with it as an instrument. It’s a challenge.”
“I love being able to play well,” Clark said. “The feeling is indescribable. I had some natural talent, but I always kept trying, even when it was tough. There have been different steps of difficulty throughout. The clarinet has a low and a high section, so if you go over the break, you make a high squeaking sound that’s disgusting to hear.”
Clark has nonetheless progressed far enough in his clarinet skills that he can play the clarinet slide, a rare feat. While this year marks his first time as part of the All-Northwest Band, Leavitt is an old hand at participating in the All-State Band, having previously appeared in its lineup last year and in eighth grade.
“They’re looking for you to play with musicality and technical skill,” Leavitt said.
Both Leavitt and Clark began practicing last summer for their respective All-State and All-Northwest band auditions that fall, and received word of their acceptance before the winter holiday break.
“Waiting to get the results back was the hardest part for me,” Leavitt said. “I enjoy being able to play with other people. Working hard to develop my skills has helped me learn a lot about dealing with stress.”
“I’m lucky I don’t have to force him,” laughed Linda Clark, Andrew’s mom. “When your kids are this much into something, you can’t complain as a parent. I remember being in band as a kid, and we were kind of geeks, but now, being in band is very cool. You see all these kids at sporting and other events, and you realize that it’s a whole different ball game.”