Mercer Island High School band earns fourth place in ‘Battle of Bands’

During the school year, most high school bands focus on their marching technique and preparing for events by learning classic songs and styles. The Mercer Island High School band set those classics aside momentarily to learn a different type of genre: classic rock.

The MIHS band placed fourth in the radio station KZOK and Rock Wood Fired Pizza “Battle of the Bands” competition by playing “What is Hip,” a song by Tower of Power. The video of the band performing was filmed in the MIHS Commons.

Students, friends and the community texted in their votes with money and bragging rights on the line as 36 high schools around Western Washington competed for the title. In the end, Liberty High School earned $10,000 for the band department as the grand champion. MIHS received a pizza party from Comcast as the fourth-place school.

The contest’s celebrity judges included Blake Lewis, American Idol runner-up; Alan White, of Yes; Brad McDavid, the UW Husky marching band director; and Donn Bennett, of Donn Bennett Drum Studios.

To view the Mercer Island High School marching band video and those from other bands, go to or to

Three MIHS arts groups earn honors

Three Mercer Island High School groups earned Washington Interscholastic Activities Association academic state championships honors this month. In the WIAA 3A classification the MIHS band, choir and drama programs earned state titles.

It was the first win for the band and choir.

“Obviously, we are very proud of the academic accomplishments of our students, especially with those involved in our activities and athletics,” said Craig Olson, MIHS associate principal.

The Mercer Island band, directed by Parker Bixby, had 54 students with an average GPA of 3.74. The choir, directed by Tom Cox with 19 students, had a 3.67 grade point average, while Karen Campbell’s 19 drama students earned a 3.37 GPA during the 2008-09 school year.

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