McNary High School Logo - Link to Home Page

APT College Garage Band Festival

By Dakota Hill
April 25, 2023

On April 21 McNary’s APT Garage bands will be going to a college festival.

“Very excited for the kids to get to go and perform and compete and get to do a song writing seminar, so we are pumped to go” Teacher Mr. Andy Thomas said. 

“Band and Performers from Studio production classes that are going, we have ten bands, four singer/songwriters and four soloists competing in those three categories (50 total students). There is a bands category, (covers are originals), singer/songwriter category (original music), and then solo category which is covers (and a cover is when you sing someone else's song),” Thomas said, “It’s a great educational opportunity for them to grow as musicians, and it's a great morale booster to get to go on a field trip together as a group.”

As the groups all prepare one thing collectively they have all expressed is how thankful they are for Thomas and this opportunity that he has given them. 

One student Senior Ryan Van Ramburg said “I just like to mention how lucky I feel to be apart of the APT program, not a lot of schools have this program leader of this program Thomas is great, great guy and leader, has done a lot for students and gets us a lot of opportunities we would not have otherwise, so if it wasn’t for this program I would definitely not be the musician I am today, so I just wanna say quickly how thankful I am for Thomas and the program he has created.”

The entire group looks to all improve not just by themselves but as a group as a whole. As Van Ramburg went on to say; “Good learning experience, and feedback for my writing style and ability to write songs. I really like input from people who know more than me, and it's a really helpful opportunity that I want to take advantage of.”

Some groups have prepared all year to get to this event and to participate. As kids not from just McNary but other schools as well prepare to win the competition. And students will use this opportunity to see other bands and learn from them. 

“Cool to see students around the same thing doing the same thing; and have the same passion. Excitement, thrill seeing others passions and getting to a new stage.” Junior Reese Johnston said.

While most students don’t like being judged. Some groups are really looking forward to being judged so they can learn from the experience that not a lot would get.

“Well it's a good chance to get judged by professionals and get feedback on ways to improve etcetera, it's a good experience for someone who is into music or who wants to get into music. Seeing bands outside our own school, cause it's not just catered to McNary high school, there are going to be other schools there and more people to get feedback from”. Sophomore Liam Koenig said.

A Lot of the song writers are also really excited to see how their own songs they wrote will sound. “I think it will be really interesting to see the feedback we get from our song, not only from the judges but from everyone, just to see again how it is perceived. Hopefully we can get some pointers, tips for writing better music in the future, improving our techniques and strategies and everything, just hopefully we can come out of it better musicians and writers.” Junior Lewis Mann said. 

He also loves the support the APT program and ,his band especially, gets for what they do: “I love everyone who supports us, people on Instagram are always tagging us and everything and it's always awesome to see how much people are invested in what we do, it's super heartwarming and fun.”

Bands are all just excited to not only learn but bond together. Whether the band has played together all year or for a few months they are all looking forward to bond together and work together and come out stronger. That is one of the biggest reasons for sophomore Brooke Moreland.

 “I think as a band we really want to have this as a bonding experience, because we have not been playing that long together and we really want this to be like a bonding experience for us to get close as a band,” Moreland said.

But not every student's number one job is to sing or play an instrument. For Sophomore Dylan Baker he is part of the very important sound crew. 

“At the event I am a sound tech, so at the event, I would be mixing live sounds so like when the band is playing I’d be at the soundboard with the rest of the sound crew making sure it sounds good, working the monitors so that the band can hear themselves at the same time to and hear what they sound like, making sure everything is running smooth. I am new to the sound team so it's good for me to go to these events and learn, in a more live like sense instead of to a pre recorded song it's better to do it while there is a band on stage it's more active there is a little bit more risk to it.” Baker said.