The Greeley Recreation Center was central for kids Saturday as more than 200 high school band students gathered for the 71st Colorado All-State Band program reunion.
The University of Northern Colorado School of Music and the Colorado Bandmasters Association hosted the program. Due to the pandemic, this was the group’s first in-person meeting in two years.
As little kids of all ages made their way to 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 during of the group’s performance later in the afternoon at the Union. Civic center of the colony.
Students from across Colorado, including Lakewood, Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Burlington, Brush and Florence arrived in Greeley Thursday night where they were greeted by a concert by the band UNC. The students spent most of Friday in rehearsals as well as Saturday morning.
“There are two groups — a large school group and a small school group,” explained Jon Borodach, assistant deputy director of groups at UNC. Russ Mikkelson, group director at Ohio State University and Dr. David Fullmer, retired group director at Snow College in Utah.
The smallest band, the Concert Band, is open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from 1,100-student high schools, while the Grandes Ecoles Symphonic Band is open to juniors and seniors from all schools.
Some local students who 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 bands are the best high school musicians in the state,” said trombonist Erika Sjoblom, 17, of Steamboat Springs. “And most of us have never met before this weekend. I’m the only one in my school.
Being invited to become a member of the All States Group is not an easy process. Students interested in being part of the program must submit an audition video, which is evaluated by the UNC Music Programs faculty. 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’re one of the best musicians for your instrument in the whole state and colleges are really looking for that in college applications,” said clarinetist Sarah Kreis, 16 years old, from Lakewood.
The group has been meeting at Greeley for the program for over 30 years.
“It’s a pretty special event for the students and their principals are here too,” Borodach said. “They spend the weekend here, so it’s a great time and to be part of this group is a testament to their talent.”
For more from the Colorado All-State Band, visit https://bit.ly/3xbUJg5.