Garibaldi Secondary students selected for national youth wind orchestra | District Highlights | Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows Ҵý District 42

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Garibaldi Secondary students selected for national youth wind orchestra

Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows Ҵý District students Ethan Knowles and Alex Gibson are striking a chord on the national stage.

The two Garibaldi Secondary students have been selected for the that is set to perform at MusicFest Canada in Toronto on May 17.

“I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited,” said Gibson, who is in Grade 11. “[It’s] made up of all the top performing students across the country.”

The Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra is an honour group for students between the ages of 16 and 24 across the country. There are 50 spots on the ensemble that students need to audition for.

“[We] would have been competing against some university students,” Gibson said, “so I picked about the hardest piece on tuba that I know of.”

Gibson has been playing the tuba for about 2 and a half years now.

“It’s very low and I like to be the bass of the orchestra,” he explained. “The one who makes the stage shake.”

Knowles, on the other hand, auditioned for the euphonium. The Grade 12 student has been playing the instrument for about eight years.

“It’s very virtuosic,” he said. “Gets a lot of solo bits within concert band music and I find I can express myself very well.”

Both students were trying out for one of only two positions on the ensemble for each of their respective instruments, competing against musicians from all across Canada.

“They gave us scale requirements as well as excerpt requirements and then we got to choose our own playing sample,” Knowles said.

He began practicing in December and worked for a month straight before sending in his audition tape in January.

In February, both Knowles and Gibson received the news that they’d been selected for the band.

“I went downstairs to tell my grandma and I was practically jumping around the room,” said Gibson. “I called my mom too. And then I made an announcement on Facebook… the first thing I’d ever posted on Facebook in like six months.”

Knowles was excited, too.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to meet new people,” he said. “The networking opportunities are usually really, really great and you make lifelong friends.”

It’s also a great learning opportunity, Knowles explained, because he will be playing alongside and learning from more experienced musicians, including university instructors.

“The biggest thing that you come home with is confidence, which greatly improves your playing,” added Gibson.

The two have spent the last week at the University of Toronto with a rigorous daily schedule from 9 a.m. to 9:30 pm. that includes rehearsing, participating in workshops and attending concerts.

Gibson and Knowles will perform as members of the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra on May 17 at the MacMillan Theatre.

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