School percussion group to perform at conference

BUFORD - Alexa Gilomen, a seventh-grader at Lanier Middle, is excited about her upcoming performance with the school's percussion ensemble.

The school's percussion ensemble will be the first at the middle school level to perform at the annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, an international band and orchestra conference, said Hunter McRae, the group's director.

"I've never really done anything like this before," Alexa said.

Lanier was invited to perform at the 62nd annual clinic after submitting tapes of performances from the spring.

"It's a big deal for these kids to be asked," McRae said. "Educators will go (to the clinic) because they want to see the best of the best in bands and orchestra. ... They go to see the best groups in the world. They also feature new music each year."

Lanier's group - considered to be chamber ensemble because of the small number of students who play each piece - will perform 10 pieces in an hour-long concert. Two of the pieces will be world premiers, McRae said.

"I feel like what these students do - I really feel like musically they're going to reflect on the atmosphere of our school ... (which is one of) a high level of success and achievement," McRae said.

Tyler Kostun, an eighth-grader, said the opportunity to play at the clinic "seems really cool."

"I think it's going to be real cool up there," he said. "It's a good accomplishment."