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Applications to perform or to propose a clinic at the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic are now available!

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Performer First Reactions

Congratulations to all the performers! Here, we share some of their first reactions and continued thoughts to being invited to appear at The Midwest Clinic.

Excited for Midwest

Author: christopher banks,

Hello all!

It is an honor to join everyone else this year at Midwest! This coming year will also be our school's 20th Anniversary! What a way to celebrate.

5/14/19 - The recording, the wait, the e-mail, and UIL

Author: Jarrett Lipman,

We are so thrilled to have a received an invitation to perform at The Midwest Clinic. On March 7th, we performed "Roman Carnival Overture" and "Rolling Thunder" on a concert for our parents, families, and friends. This was our second year to apply to perform at Midwest and we learned a lot through the preparation in 2018 that helped working on this submission feel more comfortable. As we finished the first section of the Roman Carnival I remember thinking "Wow! Our English horn soloist had about his best run of this ever," and so many things were going well that I started to get nervous as we went through the next section that the take might not finish as strong as it started. Looking at the kids, I kept focusing on the music - and enjoying watching and listening to them perform as we had practiced. I try not to let my mind analyze the performance as we go through it, but this is still a challenge for me.

The kids continued to play so well - and I think we were all relaxing a bit the longer it went. Then, we hit a small snag - the kids recovered quickly, but I almost stopped. I remember thinking “Don’t stop, finish ….let this one go…” and we played through the end and the kids played the remainder of the piece as strong as the beginning. Listening to the “snag” after we were done - it was barely noticeable. In the moment, it felt so much worse - and probably could’ve affected the rest of the recording that we submitted, and that we are all so proud of. For me, the lesson re-affirmed - focus on the music and don’t overreact to little things even if they feel big in performance.

Those who have submitted and waited - either for acceptance or rejection - know the anticipation of seeing the e-mail come in. Other band directors from around the state were texting days before results came out “Have you gotten anything yet?” “Have you heard anything yet?” Daily, I would check the submission just to make sure what we had turned in actually was correct - and been received. I am someone who worries about issues with the recording - or something going wrong with the system. And I guess what I tried to do most this year - other than my daily check on the application - was ignore it and focus on something else. In 2018, I felt like the anxiety of waiting was as consuming as waiting to see if I’d been accepted to college. I realize “it’s just band” …. but again, is it really when you’re passionate about what you do? Daily, I would reflect on our process, and my mentors Mr. Bennett and Dr. Rhea would say “Whether you’re in or not, it’s your best band, and you should be proud of what your kids did.” This year was easier to wait though I was still anxious.

Finally - the e-mail came in, on the day before our Wind Ensemble was to perform at UIL contest. I looked, and saw we had been accepted. While our second band was warming up, Mr. Sharps - who co-conducts the Wind Ensemble with me - and I had a moment together in the hall we both hugged and cried almost in disbelief that we’d been accepted. We have had several of those moments together since CTJ opened in 2008, and it felt amazing to share another one with my friend and partner before he retires in the coming years. When we shared with our students later that day - there was a mix of joy, relief, pride, and so much energy and excitement.

It really showed up on the day of UIL. Normally - the kids are bubbling on UIL day and on the outside I try to be. Inside - I am hoping that everything goes as we have practiced and wanting the experience to be as positive as an evaluative performance can be. This day - everyone was relaxed and excited to perform knowing the news we’d received less than 24 hours earlier. In many ways it felt like the evaluation was over. Deep down, we all know the focus should always be on the music. The evaluation sometimes makes that challenging. The 25 minutes on stage with our students flew by faster than any performance I can ever remember. They were so calm and confident performing - and we were having so much fun. The last two minutes of Roman Carnival were probably about as animated and exciting as anything I’ve been a part of with our ensemble - and their performance of Rolling Thunder after had the crowd on their feet before the performance was over. We were the last group of the day, and actually had a reasonable number of parents and other directors coming to see the band perform. It was truly a magical moment. All of the work and effort for this spring - and over the years towards the goal seemed to capitulate in that performance. I will never forget it - the news of getting in, and sharing that with Alan and the kids.

Everyone who I’ve spoken to who has performed at Midwest has offered the advice “enjoy every minute and every step of the process.” We are certainly going to do that.

Our Midwest Announcement!

Author: Amy Krueger,

We were so happy to get the invitation to perform at The Midwest Clinic! I sent the news via email, so our responses are a little lackluster, but I did make an announcement video to share with our fans on Facebook and YouTube. You can see the video at the following link:

Discussions about programming are in the works!