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Junior High Band Festival Will Feature Award-Winning Guest Conductor


February 26, 2020

On March 2, Chinook Junior High School will host the Music District 7 East Junior High Band Festival. Attended by more than 200 students from Big Sandy, Box Elder, Chinook, Fort Benton, Havre, and North Star, the Festival will culminate with a concert at 6:30 p.m. on Monday night in the Floyd Bowen Gymnasium at Chinook High School.

The student group will form two bands: an Intermediate Band, directed by the local band directors; and an Advanced Band, under the direction of guest conductor Susan Walker.

A retired music teacher, Walker has been involved in various music organizations locally and nationwide. She held membership with the Montana Music Educators Association, Montana Bandmasters, and the National Association for Music Educators for more than 30 years. Her career spanned nine school districts and 41 years – the last 26 of which were spent at Big Sandy High School where she built a successful music program with fewer than 100 students.

Walker is also a member of the national band fraternity of Phi Beta Mu and was one of nineteen recipients of the 2014-2015 National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Music Association Award. The Music Advisory Committee selected the winners from across the nation based on their outstanding contributions to high school music programs and activities. The awards recognize high school or college band, choral or orchestral directors, supervisors and adjudicators. In 2015, Walker also won the Outstanding Montana Music Educators Award.

Walker remains an active member of the Montana Music Educators Association, having served as State Manager for two years. Presently, she mentors new music teachers and fills in as a fifth grade band director for four schools in the Bozeman School District.

After a day of creating and rehearsing, the two bands will perform a concert on Monday evening. According to Chinook’s 5-12 Band and Choir Director, Levi Williams, the Intermediate Band will perform 12 the Clock Strikes, Anasazi, Valley of the Moon, and Theme from Jurassic Park. The audience will also hear the Advanced Band play Chant and Ceremony, Tribal Dance, Gently Touch the Sky, Ancient Voices, and Bohemian Rhapsody. The concert is free and open to the public.


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