Issue: April-June 2011
Bandworld Magazine Page


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by M. Max McKee  Bio


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Development of the WIBC Honor Bands

For the 8th annual Western International Band Clinic convention in January 1987, the Board of Directors decided to start a student honor band. Since the early 80's we had had a Directors' Band that presented the final concert under a nationally known conductor. Now the timing seemed right to audition high school students for a select band of about 80 players. Board member, Gene Slayter (Springfield, Oregon, High School), served as organizing chairman

Guest conductor for first WIBC Honor Band was Robert Spevaceck, Director of Bands at the University of Idaho. In November 1987, WIBC shifted back to its November time slot and the honor band was conducted by Larry Sutherland, Director of Bands at CSU-Fresno. Premiered on the final concert featuring both the WIBC Directors' Band and the WIBC Honor Band was Bertold Hummel's chorale entitled "Schöne" with the composer in attendance.

Barker deMeij Langlet
Warren Barker Johan de Meij Philippe Langlet

For the 10th anniversary year of WIBC (1988), the honor band brought in conductor, Philippe Langlet, from Le Havre, France. Ever growing in numbers, the 1989 convention experimented with a multiple-conductor concept using  composer, Warren Barker along with board members, Tim Lautzenheiser and Max McKee. Premiered on that concert was the WIBC commission of Warren Barker's "Deirin De" with the composer conducting. The tune is the earliest complete Irish melody, a piece discovered by Max McKee while attending the Bunratty Medieval Feast in March 1988. November 1990 marked the final year of the single honor band with two foreign conductors sharing the program: Composer, Georgy Salnikov, from Russia and Juan Mas Quiles from Spain.

With over 300 hundred students applying for the 1991 convention, WIBC created a second honor band and established the names Firebird and Thunderbird for more than 175 students selected to participate. Guest conductors, each directing both bands, were Philippe Langlet from France and Jan Molenaar from Holland. The following year, WIBC featured composer, Johan de Meij from Holland and Kanat Akhmetov from Kazakstan. In 1993, Philippe Langlet returned and teamed up with composer, Jan Van der Roost from Belgium.

For the 16th annual Western International Band Clinic, the convention was moved to Ashland, Oregon for one year due to contract problems with host hotel in Portland. For this convention, Johan de Meij (Holland) returned and paired up with Henri Adams (Spain). For the first time, the honor bands featured a guest soloist with renowned trumpeter, Allen Vizzutti

Next time: WIBC adds more honor bands



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