Marching musicians, guard win top honors

Members of the Grand Junction High School marching band perform along a crowded Main Street Saturday morning during the parade portion of the Colorado West Marching Band Invitational.

A member of the Delta High School marching band color guard performs in front of a packer crowd at Stocker Stadium Saturday afternoon during the parade portion of the Colorado West Marching Band Invitational.



• Sweepstakes — Palisade High School

• Parade

Class 1 — Cedaredge High School

Class 3 — Palisade High School

Class 4 — Central High School

Class 5 — Fruita Monument High School

• Field show

Class 1 — 1. North Fork Combined Banks (Hotchkiss, Paonia), 2. Cedaredge

Class 3 — 1. Palisade, 2. Delta

Class 4 — 1. Montezuma-Cortez, 2. Montrose, 3. Central

Class 5 — 1. Fruita Monument, 2. Grand Junction

• Special recognition also was given to several bands in the following categories:

Drum major — Palisade, Fruita Monument and Central

Color guard — Palisade and Montezuma-Cortez

Percussion — Delta and Central

Inspection — Fruita Monument, Palisade and Montrose

The Palisade High School Marching Band didn’t need any smoke and mirrors to trick judges into naming it the best marching band of all Saturday.

Well, maybe it needed the mirrors.

The combination of Palisade’s parade score, drum major score, color guard score and field show garnered it the sweepstakes award in this year’s Colorado West Marching Band Festival held in downtown Grand Junction and at Stocker Stadium.

As part of its field routine, Palisade’s color guard actually used mirrors to catch the sun and play up the sound effects used in the music.

It was one of many smart moves Palisade made Saturday en route to winning the whole competition, a feat that band members weren’t sure Palisade had ever done before.

In fact, Palisade drum major Corey Aday, a junior, and senior color guard member Hannah Harper admitted to being in a state of shock that the Bulldogs won the competition that featured larger bands from some of the area’s biggest schools.

“This has been the best year,” Harper said.

For Palisade’s marching band members, including its color guard — which is the part of a marching band where flags, sabres and other accessories are used to accent the presentation of the music — the road to Saturday’s win began in August.

Before school began, Palisade staged a five-day, seven-hour-a-day guard camp.

Band camp also was five days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. During those intense sessions, the band learned the music and routine. Palisade spent the past month rehearsing and trying to perfect it. It is a similar schedule to what other area high school marching bands follow.

At Central High School, the band not only staged a guard and band camp but also threw in a one-day freshman camp where newcomers learned how to march and be a part of a competitive high school band, said Central senior Bridgette Roybal.

Central won the Class 4 parade competition and placed third in the field show.

For the 10 Western Colorado bands that took part in Saturday’s competition, attention now shifts to preparation for this month’s state qualifying competitions. Those bands that qualify for state compete later this month. Stocker Stadium will host a portion of the state’s marching band competitions.

With Saturday’s title, Aday is hopeful the accolades will give the Palisade band the push to achieve the highest honor in marching band competition: the state title.

Is Palisade shooting for a state title?

“I am,” Harper said.


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