WWU Honor Band Allows UCA Musicians to Grow

March 10, 2017 | Timothy Kosaka

Fourteen students and staff from Upper Columbia Academy (UCA) in Spangle, Wash., joined musicians from 11 Adventist academies for a weekend of growing through music. Brandon Beck, Walla Walla University professor of music and band director, led this biennial event on the campus of Walla Walla University. An intensive audition process yielded some of the “finest musicians from the country," says Pam Cress, interim chair of the Walla Walla University (WWU) music department.

This three-and-a-half-day event gave students an opportunity to practice and perform challenging music, grow through meaningful worships, and make new connections with students who share the interest of music. “Honor Band has been a great new thing to experience, and it’s just fun playing with new music,” says Walker Johnson, a UCA junior. “It’s thrilling.”

A number of members from Honor Band performed at Friday night vespers with the Walla Walla University band. Additionally, the entire Honor Band shared music during the University Church's second service, as well as through a seven-song concert in the afternoon.

“The WWU Honor Band was a wonderful opportunity for my students to grow as musicians,” says Dean Kravig, UCA band and orchestra director. “Just the experience of working up to the audition helps the players grow tremendously, and the opportunity to play with our church's version of the All-State bands is a life-changing experience that inspires students to become lifelong learners on their instrument.”

UCA participants included Grace Ahola, Christian Contreras, Walker Johnson, Kaitlyn Kramer, Dean and Lorrie Kravig, Cedric Merrills, Kaleb Pearsall, Katrina Santiago, Zoey Shim, Sierra Shupe, Danny Stratte, Jared Wallen and Thomas Warren.