John Marshall’s Steel Drum Band will soon jet off to Chicago


It’s been an eventful year for the John Marshall High School Steel Drum Band: from performing over Skype with the West Virginia Department of Education to performing at the West Virginia Music Educators Association conference in Charleston, they’ve played all over the state.

Now, band members are jetting off, in less than a week, for the Midwest International Music and Orchestra Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

“It’s nerve wracking, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience,” said Madi Blake, a junior at John Marshall.

Band members told 7News their good fortune is all thanks to their band director submitting a recording of the group.

The Monarchs were quickly chosen to attend the 2018 workshops. They were even asked to perform.

“I’ve spoken to many colleagues and as far as we can gather, we are the first group from West Virginia to ever perform at Midwest, so the honor is enormous,” said Tracey Filben, Director of Bands and Theatre at John Marshall.

Filben said over 15,000 band directors will be there plus their students.

“The conference itself is going to be insanely huge and such a good experience. We’ll e exposed to different types of settings, different composers and band instructors. That’s going to be a really awesome environment to get to be in. Also, the opportunity to play in front of that many people is really awesome. We’re very thankful for that,” Blake said.

The 14 members have been practicing endlessly for several weeks.

Now, they feel prepared.

“We love playing for an audience. It gives us the hype we need to be excited about our performance. Even though we might be a little nervous because there are so many people, I know that once we start playing our first tune, we’ll get into it and e ready to roll,” said Kailey Filben a senior at John Marshall.

The Steel Drum Band next Tuesday, Dec. 18 through Thursday, Dec. 20.

Stay with 7News for updates.

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