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. . . And on a Gold Note

Herb Thomson, the band director at East Grand Forks Senior High and a leader in many community music organizations and events, will be honored with the 2007 Gold Note Award to be presented at a luncheon Thursday.

Herb Thomson, the band director at East Grand Forks Senior High and a leader in many community music organizations and events, will be honored with the 2007 Gold Note Award to be presented at a luncheon Thursday.

The award, given each year since 1995 by the Thursday Music Club of Greater Grand Forks, recognizes those who support and promote music and music appreciation in the Grand Forks and East Grand Forks area.

Thomson is being recognized for his hard work and dedication to the East Grand Forks public school system, his participation with the Shrine Circus Band, American Legion bands and Grand Forks City Band, and for his organization and continued leadership of the annual Myra Jazz Festival.

Thomson grew up in Cavalier, N.D., and learned to play the trumpet, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He earned a bachelor's degree from Mayville (N.D.) State College and his master's degree from UND.

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At age 14, he had his first public musical performance when he played his trumpet with the International Music Camp Band that toured Europe for three weeks and also performed at the World's Fair in New York City.

This year, he'll complete his 36th year as a public school music teacher and band director. In teaching young musicians, Thomson said he's kept a simple philosophy.

"I want a couple of things from my students," he said. "First, I want to try to expose them to every possible style of music that is written for wind bands, and, second, I hope they leave my program with a lifelong love of music."

Proud moment

One of the highlights of his teaching career came in 2005, when the Senior High Jazz Band took first place in its division at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Jazz Festival, a competition for ensembles that included middle schools, high schools and colleges.

"When we were in the gym, waiting for the winners to be announced, they started with third place, then second," Thomson said. "As each one was announced, we began to wonder, is it possible? It was just like the end of the movie, 'Sister Act II.' When they announced us as the winners, there was an explosion of excitement. It was quite a feeling."

The Senior High band returned recently from performing at Walt Disney World in Florida.

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