ILWACO — The Hilltop Middle School fifth and sixth grade bands had their time in the spotlight last Wednesday night, as the two groups performed their first concert of the year — and in many cases, their first band concert ever.

Kicking off the concert was the 60-piece fifth grade band, who featured a couple of beginner band songs before moving into more holiday-themed numbers. For many of the musicians, it was their first time performing together in front of an audience, as band is not offered until the fifth grade. But IHS band director Rachel Lake, who led the fifth-graders, said it’s always interesting to see them in their first concert and then watch them get better as the years go by.

“I’ll get to teach many of these students when they’re in high school,” she said before introducing a song. “I can imagine what a lot of them will be like when they’re seniors and it’s so awesome to see them start something.”

Toward the end of their set, Lake had a large number of fifth grade musicians come forward and perform either solo or small ensemble pieces, which highlighted how far some of these young musicians have already come. The group wrapped up their portion by performing the holiday song, “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”

The sixth grade band, led by Hilltop music teacher Brian Bergman, featured 35 musicians, and their four-song set included only one holiday song, “Jingle Bells,” as well as “Shine,” “Space Shuttle Rock,” and “Nature’s Fury.”

“I have had the absolute privilege of working with this group of students this year,” said Bergman. “They have come a long way, and I’m so happy they are my students.”

Bergman also pointed out that their is quite a difference between first year band (fifth grade) and second year band (sixth), as the students grow.

‘The more you play the better you’ll sound,” he said.

Maya Edwards, Cambria Fleming, Julian Frazer, Rigo Gonzalez-Sebastian, Sarah Limbocker, Sammy Lloyd, Kara Meinhardt, Anya Oviedo, Randee Pond, Shealyssa Allen, Delaney Anderson, Alexa Avelar, Kassidy Bales, Blake Bell, Ruby Berry, Westin Billeci, Angelina Leone-Campbell, Olivia Crete, Cristofer Diaz, Annessa Duffy, Jaxon Fisher-Pinto, Emily Herzberg, Alexis Hino, Neveah Longcrow, Wyse Mulinix, Stephanie Sanchez-Dominguez, Valerie Salvador, Christian Weidner, Jamie Bone, Daniel Brady, Codey Brown, Caleb Brundage, Mya Cunningham, Kailee Dodson, Cameron Duke, Alex Fisher, Tyler Graff, Hailey Hightower, Jordan Palmer, Layla Ray, Josie Schenk, Lucas Skillings, Esther Thomas, Hayden Gentry, Flynn Hilldebrandt, Braden Holmes, Carter Humphreys, Michael Karnofski, Chris LaPlant, Nora McMahon, Nuck McNeely, Cailyn Moore, Evan Stringer, Peyton Thrasher, Korbyn Tucker, Alex Espejo-Valencia, Lucas Prest, Kayden Cadinha, Dezaray Downs and Aarin Hoygaard.

Olivia Cardenas, Emily Hernandez, Isabell McKinney, Arely Sanchez, Domanic Smith, Jenna Baze, Emma Christian, Kelly Cruz, Zach Jewell, Lucy Kosa, Kiya Mendoza, Candace Skillings, Paige Thornton, Paul Kuhn, Ricky Neet, Beckett Turner, Evan Agee, Boston Caron, Milly Gustafson, Manuel Hernandez, Chris Howard, Ethan Hopkins, Demri Keeler, Jacob Mathison, Marcus Miller, Jacob Rogers, Kaemon Sawa, Deacon Stoddard, Gabriel Huff, Logan Kuhn, Andrew Gaerlan, Natalie Gray, James Herzberg, Moises Mendez and Kyle Morris.

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