High schools earn high praise, honors at music festival

Judging by the results of the weekend’s Colorado West Invitational Music Performance Festival, there isn’t one School District 51 high school that stands above the others. Each competing school earned a top honor.

Central High School was recognized for its outstanding concert band. Grand Junction High School was tabbed for top chamber orchestra. Fruita-Monument High School received top full orchestra honors. Palisade High School had the top jazz band in its classification.

Palisade is the one District 51 high school to compete at the Class 4A level.

Central, Grand Junction and Fruita-Monument are larger 5A schools.

R-5 High School did not compete.

“It is interesting to see how that worked out,” said Ryan Crabtree, Fruita-Monument’s band instructor, when talking about how well each high school did in the competition. “It shifts a lot, but it’s typical for the (District 51) schools” to do well.

This was the 85th year for the Colorado West competition, which was April 15-17 throughout Mesa County.

Grand Junction and Central high schools were hosts of the band competitions. Palisade featured the orchestras. Mesa State College welcomed all choirs.

Montrose High School won top honors for its men’s choir and its show choir.

Coal Ridge High School in New Castle won the overall sweepstakes award for schools in Class 3A or smaller after it took top honors in the concert band, women’s choir and jazz band competitions.

Aurora’s Grandview High School was the sweepstakes winner for Class 4A and 5A schools. Five or six Front Range schools traveled to Mesa County to compete, Crabtree said.

But the Colorado West Invitational Music Performance Festival is a unique chance for local high school students to compete in familiar rooms before traveling to state competitions or other places outside Mesa County to be judged.

“It’s always a great opportunity to play for judges,” Crabtree said. “And it’s a good opportunity to perform at home, as well.”


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