Central, Coal Ridge, take top honors at music festival

Central and Coal Ridge high schools achieved the highest combined scores for their music performance groups at the 86th annual Colorado West Invitational Music Performance Festival that took place April 14–16 at various locations in the Grand Valley.

Nearly 200 Colorado music performance groups featuring sixth- through 12th-graders performed for judges and received individual rankings at the festival. Total scores for each school were used to choose two sweepstakes winners: Coal Ridge High School in Classes 1A through 3A and Central High School in Classes 4A and 5A.

Palisade High School won the most titles at the competition, taking home awards for outstanding jazz choir, show choir, men’s choir, women’s choir, full orchestra, chamber orchestra, and concert band in Class 4A. Conifer High School in Jefferson County won the award for outstanding string orchestra in Class 4A. Montrose High School won for outstanding mixed choir and jazz band in Class 4A.

In Class 5A, Grand Junction High School won for outstanding string orchestra, chamber orchestra, full orchestra, men’s choir and jazz choir. Fruita Monument had the outstanding Class 5A concert band and jazz band. Central won in 5A for outstanding show choir and mixed choir.

In Class 3A, Coal Ridge won for outstanding jazz band and concert band, and Gunnison High School won for outstanding women’s choir and mixed choir.


Cash-hungry states and municipalities, in pursuit of even the smallest amounts of revenue, have begun to exploit one market that they have exclusive control over: their own property.

With the help of a few eager marketing consultants, many governments are peddling the rights to place advertisements in public school cafeterias, on the sides of school buses, in prison holding areas and in the waiting rooms of welfare offices and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The revenue generated by these ads is just a drop in the bucket for states and counties with deficits in the millions or billions of dollars. But supporters say every penny helps.

Still, critics question whether the modest sums are worth further exposing citizens – especially children – to even more commercial pitches.

Utah became the latest state to allow school bus advertising when its governor signed a law last month authorizing the practice. The strategy began in the 1990s in Colorado, then spread to Texas, Arizona, Tennessee and Massachusetts. In the past year, at least eight other states have considered similar legislation.

Districts with 250 buses can expect to generate about $1 million over four years by selling some yellow space, according to Michael Beauchamp, president of Alpha Media, a company based in Dallas that manages advertising on 3,000 school buses in Texas and Arizona.

Officials say that the revenue, while small, can still make the difference between having new textbooks – or a music teacher or a volleyball team – and not having them.

Some schools have been selling advertising space on their school websites and in campus parking lots, in addition to in lunchrooms and on school buses. An online ad usually generates about $100 a month for a school, according to Jim O’Connell, the president of Media Advertising in Motion, a company in Scottsdale, Ariz., that sells advertising for school districts.

Critics say exposing impressionable young children to ads that appear to be endorsed by their educators is problematic.

The companies that help place the ads say that children are exposed to advertising just about everywhere they look,  anyway, including in their high school yearbooks and sports stadiums.

“School bus advertising is not for the kids in the bus, but for the cars around the bus that see the advertising when they’re at a stop sign or driving down the highway,” said Bryan Nelson, a Republican state representative in Florida.


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