Recent History

Home The Formative Years Willie Lou Robertson The Ford Era Recent History Accomplishments

1982 - Mr. Douglas J. Sutton was hired as Mount Baker's seventh band director since 1934.  He grew up in Renton and graduated as a tuba player, singer, and pianist from Renton High School in 1977.  After graduating from Western Washington University in 1981, he spent six months teaching in Kettle Falls, Washington prior to his arrival at Mount Baker.

1985 - The Mountaineer Band, along with the MBHS Swing Choir, made the fifth trip to Southern California.  It was a difficult trip to achieve, due to the fact that the reciprocal band from Anaheim had a new director as well, and they no longer had the connection to MBHS.  A hasty fund-raising dance was organized, which paid for the remaining nights lodging in a motel.  The trip ended $3000 in debt, which was repaid through fund-raising the next year.

The trip included performances at Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and Magic Mountain, along with a stop at NBC studios to view the set of "The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson."

Feedback after this trip indicated that parents were much more comfortable with the band staying in motels rather than in private homes.  Times had changed, and this was a positive step in the evolution of this trip.

1986 - Expo 86, in Vancouver, B. C., was host to the MBHS Mountaineer Band.  The kilted uniforms were very well received by the international audience.  Prior to the performance, the drum majors walked through the parade route (in uniform) to the place where the band would play their stand-up performance.  They were stopped numerous times by tourists who wanted to take their picture.

1990 - A notable event - Mandy Stavik, a saxophone player and 1989 MBHS graduate, was murdered in November of 1989.  Her death was very difficult for MBHS students and staff.  Pete Stewart, senior Drum Major, trumpet player, ASB President, and 3-time All-State band member, decided to write a song for her memorial service.  "Mandy's Song" was soon recorded at a professional recording studio, and nearly 3000 copies of the tape were sold.  The proceeds have gone to the "Mandy Stavik Memorial Scholarship Fund," which has helped several MBHS students attend college.

Pete has since recorded three albums with ForeFront Records, a major record company in the Christian music industry.  Two albums were with his Christian band, "Grammatrain," and the third is a solo album by Pete, which received a nomination for a "Dove" award, the "Grammy" of the Christian music industry.

1992 - A new Auditorium - A Bond Issue was passed in 1990 to build a new Junior/Senior High School.  It was too costly to keep the old auditorium, so a new one was built.  It is a state-of-the-art facility - a bigger stage, professional-quality lights and sound equipment and a larger audience capacity.  It is a concept that has been imitated many times in recent years.

1995-1997 - Lori Adamson was hired as a full-time assistant to the Band Director.

1997 - The ninth Southern California trip occurred, chaperoned by at least one parent who attended the first California trip in 1973.

While waiting for the Hard Rock Cafe in L. A. to open, many band members and chaperones were excited to see two celebrities - Jerry Seinfeld was walking outside of the HRC - and Rowan Anderson (aka Mr. Bean) was shopping inside of the Beverly Hills Mall.

2000 - The Mountaineer Band, along with the Jazz Band, the Mountaineer Choir and the Swing Choir, made their tenth trip to Southern California.

2001 - After years of fund-raising, the school purchased a new 7' 6" Kawai Grand Piano for the auditorium.

2002 - One of the saddest events in recent band history - Senior Drum Major Jason Roland was struck and killed by an automobile while walking down Sand Road.  Jason was well-liked by everyone who knew him, and the incident affected the band members particularly hard.  For the remainder of the year, Jason was replaced as Drum Major by his best friend, Jeff Rhodes.  Jeff, along with Junior Drum Major Kara Monsen, did a great job of keeping the band together throughout the rest of the year.

At the end of the year, Jason, along with Jeff Rhodes and Jeri Klix, was voted "Most Inspirational Band Member," and the award has been re-named the Jason Roland Inspirational Award.

2003 - Eleventh trip to Southern California, highlighted by a sight-reading clinic at Disneyland, which was a challenging experience for the students.  The director challenged the students to play everything right the first time. When the band made mistakes, the director asked, "what don't you understand on the page," the students realized that they knew everything they needed to know. 

The band was divided afterwards.  Part of the band said "he (the director) was mean."  The rest said "he was right." The camp that said "he was right" eventually won.  Ever since that year, the band has really taken pride in sight-reading and not making excuses for why they aren't playing things well.  This is probably the biggest turning point for the band program in Mr. Sutton's tenure.

2005? - Around this time, the band was invited to play at the Bellingham Highland Games at Hovander Park in Ferndale.  It is quite the experience to perform here, where they aren't the only people in kilts.  It has become an annual tradition to play here the first weekend in June.

2006 - Twelfth trip to Southern California. Another great sight-reading clinic at Disneyland. Same director, same challenges. The band rose to the occasion and played much better in their clinic.

This year also marked the debut of the Jazz Dessert, Swing Dance and Silent Auction, a great evening of music and dancing that also is an important fund-raiser.

2009 - In preparation for the band's thirteenth trip to Southern California, they accepted the challenge that was given to us in 2003.  The director asked if we had ever sight-read a piece of music in concert.  He suggested it would be a great motivating tool for the students to work on their sight-reading skills.  At the Festival Concert in March 2009, the band sight-read a piece of music during the concert. The audience was most impressed, and the students were excited to take on this challenge and do an impressive job.

2010 - Instead of sight-reading in concert, the band chose to demonstrate to our audience the level of precision needed to make music. They played a chorale with 90% of the notes played correctly (10% incorrectly).  In most classes, 90% is an "A-."  In music, 90% accuracy is not good enough.  Anyone listening to the band would have given them an "F" for their efforts.

2012 - Fourteenth trip to Southern California


sight-read in concert

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