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Local student musicians named to Alberta Honour Band

Didsbury, Olds high school students performed at the 2021 Alberta Virtual Band event
MVT Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor, one of six Chinook's Edge School Division students named to the Alberta Honour Band. Submitted photo

DIDSBURY — Five local students and one from Olds High School have been named to the Alberta Honour Band.

The Didsbury High School students are Grade 12 French horn player Amy Black, Grade 12 flute player Chase Rauhala, Grade 12 oboe player Kaleb Rauhala, Grade 11 flute player Mikayla Henderson, and Grade 11 saxophone player Payge Laverdiere. 

Trombone player Zachary Taylor, a Grade 12 student from Ecole Olds High School, was also named to the provincial band. He has been playing trombone since Grade 5.

“It was a pleasure to be named to the band,” said Taylor, 18, who has previously played with Chinook’s Edge District Honour Band, Red Deer College Honour Band, and Alberta Wind Symphony.

“I learned a lot about how to work with doing stuff online and working on something completely new. I’m happy how it came together."

All of the six Chinook’s Edge School Division musicians were nominated by their respective music teachers.

Kirk Wassmer, Director of Bands in Didsbury’s High School’s music program, says the students are all well deserving of being named to the band.

“They represent the best of the best,” said Wassmer. 

The six Chinook’s Edge School Division students joined other student musicians from across the province in performing the song The Standing Stones of Stenness at the 2021 Alberta Virtual Band event.

A recording of the song was made on March 25 and recently released on YouTube.

“The piece they performed was commissioned especially for this group by Edmonton composer Allan Gilliland, and they also were a part of a virtual meet with him to get more insight into the music,” he said.

“This year’s Virtual Wind Symphony turned out really well. Although it was not all the same experience as playing in a large group, it still gave the students the opportunity to stretch themselves musically and be a part of something really exciting.”

As members of the Alberta Honour Band, the students were also able to take part in online lessons with members of Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Taylor says although he plans to pursue a career as a commercial pilot after high school, he will also be keeping up with his music as a hobby.