This year, the 27th annual KSU Concert Band Clinic will be January 24-26. The clinic started in the winter of 1994. Since then, the clinic has grown and progressed and now includes over 600 students from around the Midwest area.
Students chosen to go have the chance to learn from nationally acclaimed guest conductors at the K-State campus.
To go to the concert band clinic, a student must be nominated by their band director. Here at AHS, a student will let Mr. Tompkins, AHS Band Director, know that they want to go so that he can send KSU a list of all the student’s achievements. The clinic accepts a minimum of two student musicians from every school. They will inform Mr. Tompkins of who has been accepted and then each student will be registered.
The event lasts three days. Participants are split up into one of seven ensembles based off an audition. On the last day, there are performances from the seven honor bands and their percussion ensembles.
While at the KSU Concert Band Clinic, students can take classes with K-State School of Music studio faculty and even have the chance to arrange an audition for a KSU Music Scholarship.
Abilene High School students have attended the clinic every year for the past 26 years. In the past, the agenda for the weekend is usually very similar. On Friday, the first day of the clinic, the students arrive at K-State, register, and audition for group placement.
On Saturday the rehearsals begin. Students will take a “Master Class” taught by a KSU professor that will specifically teach about their instrument. KSU’s top ensemble (The KSU Wind Ensemble) will usually put on a performance for those in attendance.
Sunday is the last day of the clinic. Now that all the student ensembles have had multiple rehearsals, they will each have a 30-minute stage rehearsal in McCain Auditorium. After every ensemble has had time to prepare for their performance, the concert begins. This is the last event of the clinic. At the end of the concert, the top honor band will perform to conclude the concert.
“It’s a long weekend where a month and a half of band rehearsals are crammed into 2.5 days, and the kids are exhausted at the end of it, but [they] have a blast and learn a ton in the process,” Mr. Tompkins commented.
Attending the clinic is a great opportunity for band students to improve their musical skills and learn new tips and tricks about music and their instruments.