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North Tahoe musicians sweep contest

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Chirps, bangs and booms resound from a variety of instruments inside the band room at North Tahoe High School as the students practice for their mid-term solo performances.

The practice paid off in a recent competitive recital.

Three of the student musicians ” Patrick Lynch, Tucker Heintz and Marla Nelson ” were awarded first, second and third place respectively in a music contest hosted by the Rotary Club of Tahoe City at Granlibakken. Julia Levy, Morgan Paulson and Amy Leininger also fared well in the close competition.

“For a school that size, there are really a lot of kids that are either in the jazz band or the wind ensemble. It’s a very high percentage,” said Warren Wagner, board director of youth services for the Rotary Club of Tahoe City.

Lynch, Heintz and Nelson will go on to a regional Rotary music contest competing against students from Truckee and Incline Village. The Area Contest winner will then advance to the Rotary District Champion-ship in Sparks vying against 50 other musicians for a first-place prize of $1,000.

Unfortunately just three students from North Tahoe High will have a chance to win the award, but the school boasts many more talented musicians.

Band and choir teacher Dean Nordby said that while he is proud of the three students who placed in the Rotary contest, he teaches a number of gifted musicians.

“Rotary is painting a nice picture for these [three] kids, but there are a lot of students who are achieving and accelerating musically,” Nordby said.

The musical success of these students is due in part to the school’s music program.

The state of California requires that just 4 percent of the student body be involved in musical programs, Nordby said. But North Tahoe surpasses that handily, with nearly a quarter of its students in the band.

“These kids work really, really hard. These kids are just amazing. And they’re all involved in sports. And with an average GPA of 3.86,” Nordby said. “There are so many more things that these guys are doing; it’s just the [Rotary music contest] solo that got recognized.”

Lynch is the second-ranked tuba player in the state, Heintz is the No. 1 trumpeter in Northern California and Nelson is ranked both as a pianist and flautist.

North Tahoe High’s jazz band and wind ensemble also rank well against much larger schools and are touted as examples of successful music programs, Nordby said

So what do the students think of their program?

“It’s good. Our teacher’s a great guy. He loves what he does,” Lynch said.

Heintz adds: “There’s no marching band here … we have a different taste in music because of it.”


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