James McMillan is Nominated for the Blue Lake International Exchange Program


Senior James McMillan has played in the marching and concert band for 4 years. He has played trombone since 6th Grade.

Over one thousand four hundred kids in the U.S are nominated for the Blue Lake Program yet only three hundred fifty are accepted. Out of those who are accepted, only twenty people perform in the jazz orchestra that James McMillan was accepted into.


Seven years ago James McMillan started band because his friends wanted him to. All of McMillan’s friends were in band and persuaded him to play as well.


“They said band is the easiest class to have,” McMillan laughed, “all you have to do is pick an instrument and learn music.” All of McMillan’s friends played the trombone so that’s how he picked his instrument.


Never did he think he would still be playing in high school or even imagine going overseas to France, Germany, and Italy to play his trombone in the Blue Lake International Exchange Program.

Band director, Rivets Drummer, nominated McMillan for this amazing opportunity.

“James has been in band for seven years and is great in jazz band,” said band manager Sierra Decker. “Also, Drummer wanted more diversity at the Blue Lake Camp.”


The way the program is set up, a teacher nominates you and if picked, you have an interview with a Blue Lake administrator. When James first heard he was nominated he wasn’t  too excited about it.


“I didn’t think I would get in,” said McMillan, “ I felt like it was for more advanced musicians and I didn’t feel like that was me.”


McMillan was then called in for the interview. “ I was nervous for the interview,” said McMillan as his face lit up, “Then a few weeks later I got the call that I made it, I was so surprised.” The interview consisted of basic questions such as, how long he had been playing, how he was doing in school and his personal life. He also played a small solo piece.


The Blue Lake Program will be going to seven different towns in Germany, Italy, and France over three weeks in the summer of 2013. Families in Europe have opened up their houses so that the students can stay with them during the program. The families show them around their cities and introduce them to their culture.


“I’m excited to learn about new cultures. I think the best place to visit will be Paris,” said McMillan, “I also hope to gain more experience with my music.”