They weren't eligible for medals, but they should have been. Two Sequim High School seniors and one 2007 alumna traveled 13 hours and had one day of rehearsal before performing with the 2,008-person Beijing 2008 Olympic Orchestra in several Chinese locations, including at one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
After hopping a Beijing-bound flight in Vancouver on July 31, SHS band members Steven Moore and Matt Grey and Seattle Pacific University sophomore and 2007 SHS graduate Naomi Fosket said they had a whirlwind 14 days. On
Aug. 1, they performed in the famed Tiananmen Square for media and a gathered crowd; it was followed by performances for Olympic officials and a performance at the Great Wall of China, all while getting limited sleep in Orchestra Village, the five-star resort where the 2008 youth musicians from 40 countries - including 600 from the United States - stayed.
"We had great crowds," Grey, who plays the trombone.
It was luck, and their musical talent, that took the Sequim trio halfway across the world. According to SHS band director Vern Fosket, he got a call in the spring from Dr. Brad McDavid, who is director of athletic bands for the University of Washington. Being a close family friend, McDavid specifically asked for the younger Fosket, who plays the trumpet, and also expressed a need for a trombone player.
"Matt was my recommendation," Vern Fosket said.
As the two scrambled to raise the $4,400 they needed to cover expenses, fellow student Moore got happy news as well: a saxophone player had dropped out and McDavid remembered seeing the
Sequim student perform and wanted him to join the group. Moore said he gladly accepted the offer.
In addition to performing, the three Sequimites did some sightseeing in Beijing and Shanghai as well as getting a first-hand look at some of the Olympic events.
"We went to a soccer game," Moore said. "It was pretty cool to see actual competition."
Both Grey and Moore said they'd definitely want to repeat the experience.
"It was pretty cool as a whole," Moore said.
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