MILTON-FREEWATER - The McLoughlin High School band program doesn't even have a room of its own in the high school. What it does have is a host of awards with more to come for Band Director Mike Agidius' program, which takes beginning middle school students and forms them into cohesive, music making units.

The community is invited to the Spring Gala Concert Monday in the Jack Williams Auditorium at Mac-Hi. Performing will be the sixth-, seventh-and eighth- grade bands, the Central Middle School Jazz Band, the Mac-Hi Concert Band and the award-winning Mac-Hi Jazz Ensemble.

Just a taste of the music to be performed at the concert will let the audience know what the bands have been doing in the last month - winning awards. Agidius took 10 middle and high school musicians to the District 6 Solo and Ensemble Festival held by the Oregon Music Educators Association in La Grande recently and was pleased with his students' efforts.

"Mac-Hi sophomore Jessica Wilson won the alto saxophone division with a rating of '1+' and qualified for the Oregon State Solo Contest, which will be held April 30th at Willamette University in Salem," he reported. "Mac-Hi freshman Justin Hair won second place in the alto saxophone division with a rating of '1' and was named an alternate for the Oregon State Solo contest."

At the same contest, Hair and Wilson performed a saxophone trio with Mac-Hi tenor saxophonist Cindia Ibarra and earned a rating of '1+' for that performance.

Other award winners and their ratings were trombonist Jocelyn Hagar, 2+; flautist Maricela Alvarez, 1; Taylor Brummett, French horn, 1; trumpeter Kailey Van-Ocker, 1; Reed Harwood, alto sax, 2+, Stephanie Baker, alto sax, 2+; and Matt Hair, tenor sax, 1. Performances were rated from 1 to 5, with 1 the strongest.

In addition to hearing Wilson's award-winning saxophone solo, the audience will also hear first hand how the high school's Jazz Ensemble took the 38th annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho by storm for yet another year.

The band competed in daytime competition against 25 "A" division school jazz bands from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and British Columbia. An estimated 12,000 student musicians from across the United States and Canada participate in the event. The highlight of the daytime competition was being invited to perform in the evening winners concert at the university's Kibbie Dome before an audience of about 6,000 people.

Also performing at that arena were some of the best jazz professionals, Agidius said.

Mac-Hi earned top honors at the festival as it has for seven of the last 10 years. The numbers that won the band that position were "Groove Blues," "Oclupaca," and "Brass Machine," which the band will perform at Monday's concert.

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