Bak Middle School of the Arts Hits High Note With Selection for International Convention

Eleven students posing outside with their instruments.The Bak Band Department Percussionists at Bak Middle School of the Arts are used to performing in front of crowds and rehearsing for important events. This month, the band will take that performance familiarity to the next level, as they embark on an exciting journey for the first time in the school’s history.

The band was recently selected to perform at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention being held November 8 – 11 in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are the only middle school in the world to be selected to attend the Convention.

The Percussive Arts Society’s annual convention brings together the best percussionists from around the globe. Hundreds of groups submit recordings for the chance to attend, and only two colleges, two high schools, and one middle school gets chosen to perform at the prestigious event.

Made up of 11 students in the seventh and eighth grade, the band from Bak will be playing alongside popular acts such as the Blue Man Group and renowned universities including the Eastman School of Music, Michigan State University, University of Kansas, and the Conservatory of China. The students will also attend clinics and socialize with the world’s finest percussionists.

“I feel honored that we get to go, it’s a rare opportunity that most people don’t get to do,” said Jake Dudley, a seventh grade student and one of the band members.

“We’re so proud of our accomplishment,” said Amelia Hoffs, an eighth grade student in the band. “The preparation and being able to perform will really help improve our skills.”

It’s been a whirlwind of activity during the past few months, from the time the school sent in their application to their selection and subsequent travel to the Convention. Earlier this year in May, the school submitted three of their best live recordings from 2016, in the hopes of attending the Convention. Then in July they received notification that they had been selected, immediately adding a special motivation to their rehearsals and preparations for their performance on an international stage.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity and the fact that the students get to experience a world they have never been exposed to,” said Jamie Groves, the school’s Director of Bands. “After this experience, I know this will go a long way to keeping music in their lives forever.”

The multi-talented students in the band don’t just specialize in one particular instrument. They all must be able to skillfully perform on marimbas, vibraphones, xylophones, timpani, snare drums, cymbals, triangles, and any other percussion instrument.

“This honor should spotlight the incredibly high level of musicianship found here in Palm Beach County,” said Eric Rucker, the Percussion Artist in Residence at Bak. “We have an incredible team of hard working, music educators in this school district.”