16th EWU Band Invitational draws high school bands and nationally recognized conductor


Patrick Winters, director of the band, teaching a master class session | Photo courtesy of Wentao Xing

By Sam Jackson, Reporter

The EWU Band Invitational, which just celebrated their 16th year anniversary, was a free all-day event that featured EWU’s wind ensemble, a nationally recognized conductor and three regional high school bands as guests. The event runs deeper than just hosting a concert at the end of the night, it prepares high school students and EWU students for a future in music.

Medical Lake High School, Mt. Spokane High School and Wenatchee High School were the three schools chosen to attend the event this year. The motive of the event is about education and outreach for the high school students and faculty of the music department at EWU.

“The students get the chance to come on campus and see Eastern and see what it’s like to be in this college setting and play music at a college,” Don Goodwin said, EWU’s director of bands. “In our case of course it’s a recruiting tool for us, because we can bring them in here and show them everything …”

The purpose of the event is not only for the high school bands attending but EWU student’s in the band department get to experience it from the opposite end. Some college students previously attended the event when they went to high school and now they’ve gotten to see it from a different perspective. The opportunity is especially critical for those students pursuing education in music.

“Many of our students are education majors so they are watching us, then they themselves are learning to work with many of these bands,” said Goodwin. “So they are learning how to teach, they are learning how to curate an event like this and organize an event like this …”

This event started at 8:30 a.m. with clinics and master classes with the faculty and guest conductor, Bill Drury from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. It went until 9 p.m. with a concert that showcased what they learned throughout the day.

“He will conduct one of each of their songs on the program tonight so they get chance to work with a nationally recognized conductor,” said Goodwin. “When the groups aren’t working with Bill they are working with myself and our former director of the band named, Patrick Winters. They kind of do this round robin style … They observe and practice all these different things.”

Though the annual Band Invitational has come to an end this year, the music department holds many events like this throughout the year. The department would like to invite any students interested in music at all to be apart of the department in some way.

“The band that plays is not all made up of music majors or minors,” said Goodwin. “Somewhere between 10 percent to 20 percent of the student up there are non music majors. We encourage that … The involvement in any of our ensembles is open to anyone that has a background in music.”

For more information on how to be apart of EWU’s music ensembles, students are encouraged to visit the department directly in room 119 of the Music Building.