Abilene ISD recently hosted Big Country Clarinet Day, giving musicians from grades 6-12 a chance to hone their skills, meet other clarinet players, and learn new music.

James Loera, assistant band director at Craig Middle School, said the one-day event June 9 at Abilene High School was intended to give students a glimpse into how much they will get out of perfecting the craft of playing an instrument.

“We encourage sixth-graders who just finished their first few months learning how to play clarinet to join us,” he said. “We want them to experience playing with more seasoned musicians and understand how fun and musically rewarding playing their instrument can be in years to come.”

The first Big Country Clarinet Day was in 2021 at the Wylie ISD Performing Arts Center with a total of 18 participants. This year’s group grew to 25 at the new Abilene High School band hall, a good sign for Loera.

“The vision for this comes from connecting and bridging Abilene ISD and Wylie ISD,” he said. “The ability to combine forces and create this sort of mass of fantastic musicians is exciting. Next year we want to branch out to more of the Big Country to have musicians from districts around Abilene join in with us. We have a lot of positive, great things going on with this, and we want as many kids as possible to be involved.”