"Musicians excel in state, regional tests"
June 25, 2008 · Updated 1:01 PM
"Vocalist Anna McLeod, drummer Roy Gabelein and clarinetist Patrick Boyle have all brought musical accolades to South Whidbey High School.Jim Larsen / staff photoThree musicians at South Whidbey High School have brought state and regional honors to themselves and their music program.Senior vocalist Anna McLeod and junior clarinet player Patrick Boyle earned places in, respectively, the All State Choir and All State Band. They submitted tapes to the competition and were selected by a panel of judges.Boyle, son of Kate Boyle of Clinton, said he started playing clarinet in seventh grade at the urging of Jackie Minchew, who spent 10 years as the Langley Middle School music teacher before departing this year for a job in Everett. Boyle is also an accomplished pianist who plays the piano in the South Whidbey High School Jazz Band.McLeod is the daughter of Mary and Doug McCleod of Langley. Besides exercising her notable singing voice, she plays the trombone in the jazz band. She also plays the piano and sings in both the choir and jazz band.Roy Gabelein was selected to the even more prestigious All Northwest Jazz Band as its only drummer. His tape was picked as the best from among 4,000 aspiring jazz band drummers. He is a junior and is the son of Linda and Vernon Gabelein of Clinton.Brent Purvis, director of the wind ensemble, jazz band and choir at the high school, said his three standout musicians share a commitment to music. They all take private lessons, which is crucial to becoming a good musician, he said. They don't make these groups by talent alone -- it takes work.He described Gabelein as an all-around percussionist -- he can play it all, but country's a passion. Gabelein seconded that assessment, saying the only kind of music he won't play is punk.Gabelein's interest in country music led him on quite an adventure last summer. His parents decided to vacation in Nashville, Tenn., the capital of country music. One day Roy and his mom, Linda, walked into a music store, and it was evident by Roy's bag of sticks that he was a drummer looking for more sticks. But his mom had other ideas when she learned the store was hosting tryouts for the Tennessee all-state youth band.My mom said, 'You should enter,' but I said no, Gabelein recollected this week. We argued for half an hour. Finally Gabelein got so frustrated he crumpled up the entry form, but by then the other contestants were trying out. After listening to a few, he realized that he could compete at their level. He uncrumpled the form, handed it to a judge and took his seat at a drumset.Gabelein did well enough in that stint to make the semi-finals. He went back to Tennessee later in the summer with his dad Vernon and family friend Randy Bradley. At the end of the competition, he was named the top drummer in Tennessee among all 13- to 18-year-olds, and he won a whole bunch of (drum) accessories. He was glad he finally followed his mom's advice.As a result of that chance walk into a Nashville music store, Gabelein is now a Tennessee drumming champion. Some of those native-born to the Volunteer State were jealous, he admitted. I got some glares, he said.The All State Choir and Jazz Band performances will be April 1 at Highline Community College. The All Northwest Jazz Band will play Feb. 18 at the Spokane Opera House.South Whidbey residents can enjoy the musicians at their upcoming spring concert in May. "