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WDC performs at MMEA Convention in Minneapolis

The Wadena Deer Creek Concert Band kicked off the MN Music Educators Association mid-winter convention on Feb. 22 by performing a 45-minute showcase of music. Only a handful of bands are chosen for this honor. Photo by Rex Studio, Wadena.

The Wadena-Deer Creek Concert Band performed a 45-minute showcase of music for the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) state convention on Feb. 22 at the Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom.

WDC Director of Bands Lisa Weniger said performing at the MMEA convention in front of an audience of music educators from around Minnesota was the "best all-state experience you can give your band."

"I'm very proud of these young musicians," said Weniger. "They stepped up their performance to a whole new level. Many directors complimented the students for playing with passion, expression and heart. Many directors said they could take something from their our program back to their school and do with their band."

This past summer, Weniger sent an audition CD of the WDC Band to MMEA. She was notified this fall that WDC would be one of a handful of bands chosen to give a 45-minute performance. After receiving the letter, Weniger has spoken to several of her students who were "excited" at the opportunity to perform.

"They understood what a privilege it is to perform at the state convention," said Weniger. "It's like going to state for music!"

Wadena-Deer Creek Concert Band performed seven pieces for their 45-minute performance. One of the selections, "Moon River," featured WDC High School 2013 alumnus Drew Larson on the trumpet. Larson, who attended St. Olaf College and graduated with a bachelor of music in instrumental music education degree in 2017, is currently teaching grades 5-12 bands in Hayfield.

WDC Superintendent Lee Westrum made the trip to Minneapolis to support the WDC Band and to see his daughter, Abby, perform in the band too. He said it was "an outstanding performance" by the WDC Concert Band.

"It was obvious that the students had worked hard and that Mrs. Weniger had prepared them very well for the concert. I had numerous people, including band directors from other schools, tell me what an outstanding job the band and Mrs. Weniger had done," said Westrum.

For senior Henry Fitzsimmons, the highlight was finally performing their music after months of preparation and practice, as well as performing in the spectacular Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom.

"It was a long performance and tiring on the lips, but it was well worth it," said Fitzsimmons, who's played the baritone since fifth grade. "We've been working hard on these pieces, some we've been working on since last year and others since the beginning of the school year, so it was nice to finally perform."

The WDC Concert Band was also selected to perform at MMEA back in 2012.