Cedaredge marching band 
is three-time state champ

Cedaredge High School marching band repeated as the Colorado Bandmasters Association Class 1A state champion for the third year in a row under director Michael Bowles during finals competition in Grand Junction on Monday.

To win the title, the Bruins ensemble of 23 young musicians played a six-minute, Native-American-themed arrangement at Stocker Stadium titled “Escalante,” named for the ancient canyon that starts near Cedaredge and extends into Utah.

Platte Valley and Monte Vista high schools finished second and third behind Cedaredge, which also dominated the visual performance part of the field show.

The band started practicing before school began, putting in 150 hours of rehearsal by the time of the state finals competition, or about 23 hours of rehearsal for every minute the band was on the field, Bowles said.

“If you want to be a state champion, you have to practice like a state champion,” he said.

Bowles, who played drums in his high school marching band in Greeley, also directs the bands at Cedaredge Middle School.

Palisade High School finished second Monday in the Class 3A finals for the third time since 2001, but recorded its highest score ever, finishing behind 2013 state champion marching band Centaurus High School by half a point, Palisade Director of Bands Jeff Mason said.

The Bulldogs won the highest score for visual performance in the final field show performance and actually beat Centaurus in the semi-finals, but a shuffle of the judges after the semi-finals apparently turned the tide in favor of Centaurus, Mason said.

No matter, Mason said. Though his group of 95 musicians is very competitive, nearly all of them exited the field at Stocker Stadium believing they gave the best performance of their lives. “It was very emotional,” he said. “I’m so proud of those kids.”

In the Class 4A finals held in Fort Collins on Saturday, Montrose High finished eighth behind Air Academy High, which won the Colorado Bandmasters Association’s state championship for the fourth year in a row.


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