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Concert band challenges and inspires students

PUYALLUP, Wash. - The bell hasn't even rung for the class to begin but
Millie Joseph eagerly comes into the music room and starts her rendition of
an inspiring piano piece. Her classmate, Destiny Thomas, arrives moments
later, picks up her flute and practices a medley of holiday songs. A bass
drum played by Sam Cook is next to fill the room with a growing enthusiasm
only exceeded when all 21 students take their seats and are ready for the
day's concert band class.

Instructor Michael Anderson reviews rhythm reading with his middle and high
school students now in their second year of band. He is impressed with
their progress. "They are incredibly talented and excited about learning
how to perform music," said Anderson. "It's wonderful to see their eyes
light up when they get past the technical aspects and start interpreting
and adding to the musicality of the piece."

Joseph has been playing a variety of instruments for four years. She says
her favorite instrument is the flute. "The sounds from the flute are soft
and it's not too disturbing," said Joseph who also plays the clarinet,
trumpet and piano. Rehearsing in class is fun for the 15-year-old but
performing in front of others takes on a different tone. "I get nervous
performing. Until this year I've been the only flute player in the band.
There are four others this year so it will be better to have more people to
play," Joseph said.

Students take turns on their instruments individually and in groups as
rhythm reading continues. They then listen to taped pieces of music they
will eventually perform. Four practice rooms are nearby for the musicians
to fine tune their parts.

Joey Casto began playing the trumpet last year. "I like the high sounds and
the rhythms," Casto said. "Trumpets sometimes get solo parts. I like solos
with other trumpets." The 13-year-old practices at home and at school. He
wants to learn more and entertain others. "I want to become a musician and
get paid so I can help my family with the house," Casto said. While music
will always be important to him, Casto's plans include going to college to
become a physician.

Concert band is just one of the many classes offered in Chief Leschi's
music department. Beginning band and a strong choral program reach students
from pre-school age through high school. New this year is Pep band which
will play at home varsity games as well as in the Daffodil Parade. And for
the first time, a Cultural Music class is being offered where students
integrate Native American culture, history and music.