TAHOE CITY, Calif. - North Tahoe High School has a tradition of excellence in many facets of education. Students from NTHS are accepted to the best schools and are prominent figures in many careers. The start students can obtain here at NTHS is limited only by the individual. If the sky is the limit, then students may reach for the stars.One portion of North Tahoe's education that seems to shine, thanks to its students, is the band program. Students stretch their individual abilities as well as work for total band success. Students are encouraged to work hard to participate in ensembles that take only the best from regions, sections and the entire state of California. These ensembles are called honor bands. It is here the individual student can really assess how he or she compares to the best.The members may participate in several honor band levels, but the top three fall as The Capitol Honor Band from the Sacramento area, NorCal Honor Band from Highway 50 to Interstate 80 and north to the Oregon border and the king of them all ... All State.Capitol Honor band invites 80 schools from the greater Sacramento area to send recorded auditions of individuals playing their best instruments. These students spend months preparing and a panel of judges select the best. This year, 33 high schools participated and of those schools, 95 musicians were selected. Granite Bay High School proved to be the most successful school for participation, but the number two school was North Tahoe High School. Ten students were selected to perform Jan. 10-12 with 15 hours of rehearsal and a full-length concert under the direction of Dr. Joan du Albuquerque; director of bands at Luther College in Iowa. The band played amazingly and the students were uplifted by the rigor and challenge Dr. Albuquerque required. North Tahoe High School was represented by freshman Ryan Heisinger on trombone; freshman John Humphreys on bass trombone; sophomore James Palacio on contra clarinet; sophomore Bonnie Goslin on clarinet; sophomore Grace Lindemann on clarinet; sophomore Annie Thompson on mallet percussion; junior Jack Blackmon on percussion; senior Gus Gotschall on percussion; senior Shasta Tresan on tenor sax; and senior Zoe Thompson on clarinet. NorCal invites students north of Interstate 80 and Lake Tahoe from Highway 50 to participate in its honor band. Invitations go out to more than 250 schools from Northern California. This year, we will be going to Humboldt State University on Feb. 7-9 to perform in the 80-piece band under the direction of Dr. Robert Halseth of California State University, Sacramento. For the first time in North Tahoe's history, we will be sending eight students to this event. Annie Thompson, Bonnie Goslin, Grace Lindemann, James Palacio, John Humphreys, Ryan Heisinger, Shasta Tresan and Zoe Thompson will be our representatives. All State had 1,600 auditions for the 300 people set to participate. These are all the best in the schools looking to play with the best in the state. North Tahoe will send two students to this event Feb. 21-23. Shasta Tresan and for the first time at North Tahoe, a freshman has been accepted; John Humphreys. I am very proud of our program, but the individuals who strived to reach for the stars have indeed made it easy to be amazed by their work. Congratulations to all who have achieved so much. Thank you for working so hard to make North Tahoe music great.- Dean Nordby is the band director at North Tahoe High School.