For the Rink family of Puyallup, music is nearly built into their DNA.
Bob and Stacia met while in band at the University of Puget Sound. Thirty years later, the couple and their three children recently returned from performing abroad as a family with the Tacoma Concert Band.
“I’ve played with the group for a long time,” Stacia said. “They were looking for people to go on this trip, and I said I’ll go, but I’ll take my kids.”
Fortunately for the family, the band needed spots to fill, and the couple’s three children just so happened to play the instruments required to complete the band.
Their oldest, Kyle, plays the trumpet; middle child Andrew plays the tuba, daughter Mikaela plays the clarinet, and with Stacia on the saxophone and Bob, a band teacher at Ferrucci Junior High, playing the clarinet, the family filled out the band.
With Kyle playing in the marching band at Boise State and Andrew heading off to Washington State in the fall, Bob and Stacia saw the trip as part of their limited window where they could travel and play as a family.
But long before their trip to Spain, the Rink children got their start on instruments before they even enrolled in school.
“They would hang out at school with me and play around on the instruments,” Bob said. “They always had instruments around.”
From there, the siblings’ love and talent for music continued.
“We’re like the Von Trapp family (from “The Sound of Music”), but with musical instruments,” Stacia quipped.
The family spent 10 days traveling with the band, and had several performances throughout the trip, with a band competition rounding out the trip.
For two months, the Rinks practiced with the group to prepare for a 120-year-old annual competition in Valencia, Spain. The Tacoma Concert Band was the only American group represented at the Spanish competition, and was invited to compete after trip coordinator and band member Jim Hunt sent competition officials recordings of the 62-member band.
Unfortunately, the band didn’t place well in the competition, but Hunt says the group held its own.
“The other bands were incredible,” Hunt said. “Every other band came in with a full band of 80, and we came in with 62 and played really well.”
While the group didn’t place in the top three, the Rinks all agreed that the experience was one they will all treasure.