Centennial’s Wind Ensemble Makes History: First HCPSS School to be Accepted to Midwest Clinic

Words: Natalie Knight-Griffin

On April 4, 2018, Centennial’s band director, David Matchim, announced to Centennial’s Wind Ensemble members that they made it into The Midwest Clinic. The Midwest Clinic is an annual conference taking place from December 19 to 22, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. It is a highly selective and prestigious music conference in which only five high schools from across the nation are selected to compete. Centennial is the first Howard County school to have ever made it into the clinic, as well as the fourth school in Maryland since 1973.

“The Midwest Clinic is the largest instrumental music education conference of its kind and we will be performing for an audience of the best musicians and educators in the world,” said Matchim. “It’s a sign that a lot of things are going right.”

At the December conference, Wind Ensemble will be performing a piece titled “Harrison’s Dream” by Peter Graham, which they having been practicing since the beginning of the school year and played at their adjudication in March. The piece won the band a series of ones from the judges, the highest score a band can achieve, meaning “exemplary.” Harrison’s dream is a dramatic, 15 minute long musical depiction of the sea, both at a calming and rigid state.

“It’s incredibly challenging both technically and artistically,” detailed Matchim. “It’s definitely the most challenging piece that we have ever performed.”

When the news of the band’s acceptance was announced to Matchim’s third period class, the room erupted into screaming, tears, and laughter. Matchim videotaped the reactions and posted the video to Twitter, describing the feeling as overwhelming pride and gratitude. The students will be practicing for the next several months in preparation for their performance at the conference, their acceptance made possible by the hard-working students, supportive community members, and director David Matchim.

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