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WDC Concert Band to perform special concert

The 9-12 Wadena-Deer Creek Concert Band will perform a home concert Feb. 10, featuring music selections they will perform at the Minnesota Music Educators Association winter convention Feb. 14. Photo by Don Hoffmann, Rex McDonald Studio

The Wadena-Deer Creek Concert Band is set to perform at the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) state convention Feb. 14 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

"This is such a great honor," said Lisa Weniger, band director at WDC Middle/High School. "We will be able to showcase our band to music educators from around the state. It's an excellent performance experience for our students."

A home concert for the Wadena, Deer Creek and Bluffton communities will be 3 p.m. Feb. 10 in the WDC Middle/High School gymnasium, where the public will get the opportunity to hear the six pieces they will perform at the MMEA convention.

WDC is one of five public school bands chosen to perform at the event. In fact, Princeton and Wadena-Deer Creek are the only bands north of Minneapolis performing. Other bands include Pipestone Area Schools Sixth-Grade Band, Apple Valley High School Wind Ensemble and Centennial High School Wind Ensemble, Circle Pines. The St. Olaf College Band and St. Louis Community Band, as well as orchestras, choirs and jazz bands are also set to perform during the three-day convention.

In spring 2012 Weniger sent an audition CD with two songs performed by the 2011-2012 concert band. She was notified July 5 by MMEA that WDC had been accepted to play at the 2013 convention.

It's been a while since a Wadena band performed at the convention. In 1957, Wadena Band Director Glenn Evensen and his students made the trek to Minneapolis.

An arduous process, Weniger selected six pieces of music for the 45-minute performance that she felt not only challenged her students, but exemplified the convention's theme, "Defining Our Future, Honoring Our Past." They include, in order of performance:

Since school started in fall 2012, the band - numbering 65 students in grades 9-12 - has been practicing nearly every day during their 53 minutes of band time. Weniger is also leaning on two guest conductors, Jim Iverson, retired band director from Fergus Falls, and Dwight Nelson, retired band director from Little Falls, to assist her in preparing her students.

Weniger said having the guest conductors come in and work with the students has been a valuable experience for everyone.

"I am with my students every day, so the music may sound all right to me, but to stand back, watch either Jim or Dwight conduct a song, it's nice to have another set of ears."

WDC junior Hailey Formo, 16, who plays bass clarinet, said the opportunity to perform at the MMEA convention is "an amazing feeling."

"We have been pushed as a band to learn these songs, and our band family has definitely grown stronger as a whole. I am so thankful Mrs. Weniger gave us the opportunity to audition last spring and excited to perform," Formo said.

MMEA will record the music concerts at the convention. CDs will be available at a later time.

For more information, call Weniger at 218-632-2369.