Bear Creek Upper School Band wins big at Instrumental Festival

Scott Higbee directs the Upper School Band at The Bear Creek School in Redmond

The Upper School Band from The Bear Creek School in Redmond won in the large school category at the ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) High School Instrumental Festival, held earlier this month at Northwest University in Kirkland.

The festival was attended by Christian high schools from throughout Washington and Oregon.

Directed by Scott Higbee, the Bear Creek students were honored to give a command performance at the conclusion of the competition.

“This was the first time we’ve done this festival,” Higbee noted.

The Bear Creek School performed a Sousa piece and one based on a melody by King Henry VIII. All participating schools rehearsed the same three pieces to be performed “en masse” and each chose one of those pieces and one of their own for adjudication.

Twenty five students from grades 9-12 are currently enrolled in the Upper School Band at The Bear Creek School. The school requires one semester of fine arts credit for graduation, but students in the music ensembles commit to a full year “to keep a steady base,” Higbee said.

In addition to concert music, the band students learn pep tunes to play at athletic events, assemblies and open houses, he said. At least one or two each year go on to college music programs, although the goal “is not to create future musicians but to encourage them to participate, throughout life, in community or church music programs,” said Higbee.

The week before the ACSI festival, “we were in Spokane for the state basketball championships,” so it’s been an exciting time for the young musicians, he said.

Tenth grader Joy Twentyman, who plays tuba, and 12th grader Joel Smith, whose instrument is tenor saxophone, said they like playing pop material like “Enter Sandman,” “Soul Bossa Nova” (the Austin Powers theme) and “The Final Countdown” but find traditional music enjoyable, too.

Playing in the school band “is a lot of fun with little work,” said Smith. “It’s a nice break during the school day.”

During a visit from the Redmond Reporter, on March 23, the students sight-read a rousing composition called “Torrents of Fire” and a lilting rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

With the school year winding down, they’re preparing to perform at commencement and in a concert that is open to the public, at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 29 at The Bear Creek School, 8905 208th Ave. NE in Redmond. For more information, call (425) 898-1720 or visit

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