When Michelle Watabe was little, she saw the McDonald's All-American High School Band perform at Disneyland.

As the band was playing, her mother leaned over to her and whispered that she hoped someday one of her children would be good enough to play in the band.Last week, Watabe saw her mother's dream come true.

She received a letter naming her as Utah's representative to the band for the 1990-91 academic year.

Ask her family how they feel and all you will get is a rousing cheer and a show of their support and excitement.

But ask Watabe how she felt and she will say, "I was totally shocked."

"I thought it was an April Fool's joke," said Watabe, who has played the clarinet for the past seven years.

Because she had been receiving a lot of mail from colleges, when she first got the letter she almost threw it away.

But she is glad she kept it.

Watabe, a 16-year-old senior from Orem High School, said candidates for the band are chosen by their high school teachers.

Then each student must make an audition tape to send to a committee which narrows the field of nominees down to include one student from each state.

Watabe's teacher, Cindy Child, who is a clarinet instructor at Brigham Young University, said she considers it a prestigious event because only one person from each state is chosen.

Child says she thinks the committee previously chose two from each state, but now that it is limited to a single high school musician, the competition is much tougher.

"Michelle is the most talented student I have ever taught," Child said. "She is extremely gifted and works hard."

Child said she also believes this will be a good chance for Watabe to hear good musicians from all over the United States and to learn from them.

Watabe will fly to Massachusetts and, from April 2 through 7, will participate in clinics and workshops designed to enhance her playing.The week will culminate in a televised performance at the McDonald's All-American High School Basketball Game.

This is not Watabe's first time in the spotlight.

She recently soloed with the Utah Symphony during its annual "Salute to Youth" program, has performed with the Utah Valley Symphony and is Orem High School's Sterling Scholar representative this year in music.

Watabe said she started playing the clarinet in elementary school and she continues to play simply because she has never had a desire to play any other instrument.