The Highwood Senior Symphonic Band picked up two very impressive awards this school year.

Highwood band teacher Jace Stearn says the kids were absolutely thrilled with their accomplishments.

"We attended two major festivals. One out in Whistler, British Columbia and then recently the Provincial Festival of Bands in Red Deer and we walked away with superior awards for their performance but the distinct honour of being recognized as the Adjudicators Choice as the top ensemble in both those festivals so it's one-of-a-kind achievement. 

Stearn says when the band was given the award, they also got to play in front of 1,400 band students.

"You could see the level of confidence grow because they were recognized as the top group. It was, it was phenomenal, it was electric. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these kids to be able to play in front of a crowd of that many people."

Jace says in his 17 years as a band teacher at Highwood High School it's the first time awards of this calibre have been awarded.

Eight grade 12 band students will be moving on from the program but with new students from Senator Riley Middle school looking to join next year, the band will continue to impress for years to come.

"We have worked really diligently over the years to create at culture of consistent mentoring, so our high school students mentor the younger students. We take them to music camp, and they sit amongst them rubbing shoulders, they look up to these other musicians and they aspire to be in the same position. It's exciting to collaborate and it is that cycle of life. I joke about my students being replaceable and they're training their replacements, but it is this culture of excellence that starts at the beginning, and we foster that with the use of our older students and this mentoring that is so ingrained now in our programs."