By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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The Port Angeles Wind Ensemble earned the Outstanding Band Group for the best band, and the school’s three participating bands together received the Sweepstakes Instrumental Program for the highest combined score.
Nearly 100 students and 30 adult assistants and chaperones traveled to the nation’s capital last week and returned Sunday tired but happy after the victories in the Saturday festival.
The trophies will join the collection of past awards that line the back of the band room at the high school.
“We traditionally have done very well,” said Doug Gailey, director of the bands, who escorts his students to the festival once every three years.
Performances are judged and awarded one of five levels of performance quality, with gold and silver as the top levels.
Bands are then ranked against other schools performing at the event.
The wind ensemble also earned the Gold First Award for the top scoring gold award school.
The symphonic band, which includes wind ensemble members and students from other bands, including freshmen and sophomores, was awarded Gold Third Award.
Two individual students earned outstanding solo awards.
Lora Rudzinski, a junior, received a plaque for her oboe solo with the wind ensemble.
Jackie Gipe, a senior, received a plaque for her alto saxophone solo with the jazz ensemble.
Port Angeles’ percussion ensemble and jazz ensemble each earned a
Heritage Music Festivals are held in major cities across the U.S. and Canada, providing middle and high school music students a chance to travel, visit famous sites and compete against schools from across the two countries.
The Washington, D.C., festival included at least six other concert bands and three jazz bands, as well as many choirs and orchestras, Gailey said.
“It was a big event with a lot of kids,” he said.
The group also performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, toured national monuments, took in the Smithsonian museums, visited Arlington National Cemetery, stopped at the National World War II Memorial and danced at the National Ballroom in Leesburg, Va.
“I think some of the greatest things about the trip were the individual conversations with the kids,” Gailey said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.