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Over 200 high school band students gather in Greeley for Colorado All-State Honors Band

The Greeley Recreation Center was kid-central on Saturday as more than 200 high school band students gathered for the 71st meeting of the Colorado All-State Band program.

The University of Northern Colorado School of Music and the Colorado Bandmasters Association hosted the program. Due to the pandemic, this was the band’s first in-person meeting in two years.

While little kids of all ages headed into the NoCo Children’s Festival on Saturday, across the hall, high school musicians were busy working on “American Guernica,” just one of the musical pieces that would be featured at the group’s performance later that afternoon at the Union Colony Civic Center.

On Thursday night, students from all across Colorado, including Lakewood, Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Burlington, Brush and Florence arrived in Greeley, where they were welcomed with a concert by the UNC band. Students spent the majority of Friday and Saturday morning in rehearsals.

GREELEY, CO – APRIL 09: Guest Conductor Dr. Russell Mikkelson, director of bands at The Ohio State University, top right, conducts the band during rehearsal for the 2022 Colorado All-State Symphonic Band at the Greeley Recreation Center in downtown Greeley April 9, 2022. A guest conductor leads the band after a Competitive selection process open to high school students throughout the state. (Alex McIntyre / Staff Photographer)

“There are two bands – a large-schools band and a small-schools band,” said Jon Borodach, adjunct assistant director of Bands at UNC. Dr. Russ Mikkelson, director of Bands at Ohio State University and Dr. David Fullmer, a retired band director at Snow College in Utah. “

The smaller band, the Concert Band, is open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from high schools of 1,100 students, while the larger-school Symphonic Band is open to juniors and seniors from any school.

Some local students that are part of the All-State Band program include:

  • Lindsay Walsh, Eaton High School
  • Bryn Shirley, Frontier Academy
  • Liam Royle-Grimes, Frontier Academy
  • Kaitlyn Walsh, Eaton High School
  • Itzel Nunez, Eaton High School
  • Felix Martinez, Eaton High School
  • Cameron Faust, Eaton High School
  • Abby Whitaker, Eaton High School
  • Karen Lovera, Greeley West High School
  • Ashlyn Schall, University High School
  • Tyler Cox, Windsor High School

“These groups are the best high school musicians in the state,” said 17-year-old trombone player Erika Sjoblom from Steamboat Springs. “And most of us have never met each other before this weekend. I am the only one from my school. “

GREELEY, CO – APRIL 09: Frederick High School senior Bethany Parker, 18, bottom right, plays the piano during rehearsal for the 2022 Colorado All-State Symphonic Band at the Greeley Recreation Center in downtown Greeley April 9, 2022. A guest conductor leads The band after a competitive selection process open to high school students throughout the state. (Alex McIntyre / Staff Photographer)

Being invited to become a member of the all-state band is not an easy process. Students interested in becoming part of the program must submit an audition video, which is evaluated by faculty of UNC music programs. Once chosen, students receive an invitation to participate in the program as well as copies of the musical pieces that will be performed.

“It’s really influential because being in All-State means you are one of the best musicians for your instrument in the entire state, and colleges really look for that in college applications,” said 16-year-old clarinet player Sarah Kreis from Lakewood.

The group has been meeting in Greeley for the program for more than 30 years.

“It’s a pretty special event for the students, and their directors are here too,” Borodach said. “They spend the weekend here, so it’s a really good time. And being part of this band is a testament to their skill. “

To learn more about the Colorado All-State Band, go to https://bit.ly/3xbUJg5.

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