The Parkway High School wind ensemble is preparing for the performance of a lifetime.

In March, the 67-member wind ensemble will join 25 invited groups in Indianapolis, Indiana for the “Music for All” National Concert Band Festival. It’s a showcase of ensembles that are recognized as being the best in the nation. 

No other event for bands has the history and iconic legacy of the National Concert Band Festival. Mark Minton, Parkway’s band director, called it a music education extravaganza.

“This is something they will never forget,” Minton said. “It takes a lot of work to get to this level and they worked diligently to perform the level of music required just to get accepted.”

To be selected for the competition, high school bands had to submit a professional recording. Then, six college band directors listened and selected the top bands.

Parkway’s wind ensemble submitted a recording they produced at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. Minton learned over the summer that they had been chosen.

“I’m really excited for them to experience this,” he said. “They don’t understand how big this is now, but they will when they get there.”

The festival is a non-competitive atmosphere, providing a place for growth among elite music programs, students, and directors.  Cassidy Burrell, senior contrabass clarinet player, said she can’t wait to show off their hard work.

“As a musician, you strive to be the best and this is it,” she said. “I’ve never had an opportunity like this. It’s truly a blessing. I’m very proud of our band and what we’ve achieved.”

The overall cost of the trip is $75,000, which has been equally divided among each child. To lessen this financial burden on families, Parkway Band boosters are working diligently to offset the cost.

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser visited the school on Dec. 11 to honor their accomplishment, calling them ambassadors for the state of Louisiana. He pledged $1,000 in support of the band’s trip, which was then matched by Sen. Ryan Gatti (Dist. 36).

While their donation is certainly appreciated, the wind ensemble has a ways to go before meeting their financial goal. A #POP2INDY donation page has been created on Go Fund Me. Donations can be made there —

They’ve also created a Pop2INDY Facebook page to document their journey. Information about the trip and upcoming fundraisers can be found on their page —

By Amanda Simmons