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The Harding Academy Senior Wind Ensemble traveled to Anaheim, California to participate in the Heritage Worldstrides Music Festival, May 20-25. While in sunny Southern California, the band performed for the Disneyland Resort in a soundtrack-recording workshop, enjoyed a rehearsal with Dr. John Burdett, the director of bands at Azusa Pacific University, embarked on a tour of Hollywood and the Queen Mary cruise ship, and spent plenty of time in Disneyland and California Adventure. The trip culminated with a performance at Fullerton College where the Senior Wind Ensemble performed for three judges followed by a short clinic with one of the judges, Dr. Thomas Root. At the awards ceremony on Saturday evening the Senior Wind Ensemble earned a GOLD (Superior) rating and 1st place in the 1A Division. The band also earned BEST BAND OVERALL, the top honor for all instrumental groups regardless of classification, participating in the festival.
Dr. Root continuously told SWE during the short clinic how impressed he was with their sound. In his recorded comments, Dr. Root said, "I bet all of the colleges and universities around Memphis are constantly listening to this group because this sounds like a college band." Dr. Root also gathered information about the group so he could stay in touch with Mr. Canterbury. He has composed many pieces and asked SWE to record some of his new works in the near future.
Sophomore Brendan Welty was presented with the "When You Wish..." Award, a special award bestowed on ONE person who represents the entire festival. It was given to Brendan for his dedication and passion in the Harding Academy Band, service in the Memphis community as well as Ghana, West Africa, and his perseverance and courage while facing multiple heart surgeries since birth. Brendan was able to ride a roller coaster for the first time on the trip due to the success of his last surgery in December.
This was a wonderful learning experience for the band and the farthest a Harding band has ever traveled to perform. Mr. Canterbury was very proud of the performance of the students and how they represented Harding Academy and, more importantly, how they glorified God through their music and their love for one another. #SWEtoCali
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Photos courtesy of Harding band parent Robert Chism.