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Summit High School Band headed to states

JULIE SUTOR
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark Fox
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FARMER’S KORNER – Dedication and a commitment to ongoing improvement have made the Summit High School Band nothing short of superior this year.

After a nearly perfect performance at the regional competition earlier this year, the band’s young musicians are putting the final touches on their pieces in preparation for the state contest April 27.

“I think we’ve become a better band than we were last year,” said second-chair flutist Malory Donahue. “We’ve all gotten closer and gotten to know each other better.”

Symphonic bands from 85 high schools across Colorado took part in the regional competitions this year. When SHS students headed to Grandview High School for their performance on March 3, they were ready to play a challenging and diverse set of musical literature chosen by instructor John Hermanson. Still, Donahue said she and her bandmates were confident and relaxed, knowing how hard they had worked all year.

“I knew we could do it,” she said.

“We played three pieces. The first one wasn’t a hard song, but you have to make sure everyone’s playing in sync, or it sounds really bad,” Donahue said.

The first piece, “La Boutique Fantasque,” and the second piece, “Lux Arumque,” went off without a hitch. But the third and final piece, Samuel Hazo’s “Sevens,” was the most ambitious they would play that day.

“We felt pretty good about ‘Lux.’ ‘Sevens’ was our big finale song – it’s fast and has a lot of really difficult rhythms, with a lot of different instruments dominating at different points in the song,” Donahue said.

As the students set down their instruments, they knew they had excelled.

“We were all really excited about it,” said Dan Maynard, leader of the band’s saxophone section. “It’s different than a sport, where you have competitions every week. We only have two major competitions, so it’s definitely a relief to play well.”

Judges evaluate bands’ performances on criteria such as tone quality, balance, note accuracy, rhythm, tempo and expression. Bands are rated on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being superior and 5 being poor. When the Summit High scores came back, the students were elated to learn that the judges had awarded them marks of ‘superior’ across the board.

“It was their best performance to date of each of those pieces,” Hermanson said. “They played the heck out of everything, and the judges saw that.”

Statewide, the Summit High School Symphonic Band landed within the top 24, qualifying them to compete against the best of the best next week at the Colorado Bandmasters State High School Concert Band Festival at Colorado State University.

“I’m feeling pretty confident,” said lead percussionist Dylan Junkermeier. “We’ll play most of the same literature, and we’ve been working on the things our clinicians told us to. Hopefully, we can play even better than we did at regionals.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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