PLEASANTON -- It was the first day back from spring break, and Jonathan Grantham's class at Amador Valley High School had unexpected visitors waiting to greet them.

Pleasanton school district Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi and a few board members had come to give Grantham's band class some news. After keeping a secret for the 10 days of spring break, Grantham and district officials informed the class that they had been one of just two California high school wind ensembles over the last 40 years to be selected for the 67th annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago on Dec. 17-21.

"It was hard to keep that secret," said Grantham, who received the news after school on the Friday before spring break. "In this age of social media, it was hard because I wanted to share the news with people, but I wanted to tell the kids in person. Those 10 days were challenging."

When the news was revealed a gasp rose from the students, some in disbelief. The process to apply for the clinic began five years ago when a majority of the ensemble members were still in middle school, Grantham said.

"As a former attendee there, I understood the quality of the programs that had been there," said Grantham, who pointed out that only two bands from California had been picked in the past 40 years. "I am a bit of a dreamer, and I had a long-term goal for the clinic, and I thought the worst that could happen was we would not get picked."

Amador Valley's band comprises 303 students with 57 making up the wind ensemble that is headed to Chicago. Amador Valley was one of four high school bands out of 100 in the country that sent in audition tapes to be selected for the clinic.


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On Monday, the public will have a chance to see what impressed the Midwest Clinic committee about the Amador Valley wind ensemble when the band gives a 7 p.m. performance at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore. Tickets for the performance are $12 and available online at www.mylvpac.com or the at the Bankhead box office. The show is to help pay for the cost of attending the Chicago clinic and to thank the community for its support.

IF YOU GO:
What: Fundraiser for the Amador Valley High wind ensemble trip to Chicago
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St. in Livermore
Cost: Tickets are $12 and available online at www.mylvpac.com or at the box office.