Mesa County bands do well at state

Mesa County high school marching bands distinguished themselves at the state marching band competition during the Oct. 25 weekend, with several bands placing higher than ever before.

Palisade High School finished eighth in the state, and drum major Kevin McDermott took top honors as the state’s drum major champion in the 3A division competition in Aurora.

“We are thrilled with an eighth-place finish,” said Jeff Mason, Palisade’s band director. “The students pulled together, and we made a lot of progress this year.”

Central, Grand Junction and Fruita Monument high schools finished 14th, 15th and 16th in the 5A division with Central High School making it to semifinal competition.

Paul Traugott, Central’s band director, said the marching band has never made it to the semifinals before.

“5A is a very tough category,” he said.

“There are a lot of big schools with a lot of money.”

Fruita Monument posted its highest score in state competition with 60.5 points, said band director Ryan Crabtree.

“The band had its absolute best performance of the year that day,” Crabtree said.

The marching band was also honored by the District 51 board of education for posting the highest average grade point average, a 3.71, of all 5A schools for 2007-08. Band members were the state’s 5A academic champions.

Grand Junction High School’s band finished one point out of the semifinals, but finished 16th at the “Sounds Across the Valley” competition in Las Vegas.

The band competed against 27 schools from across the region, including bands from California, Nevada and Arizona.


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