Bands march through competition

Grand Junction High School’s marching band is puts on a show during the parade competition in downtown Grand Junction. Fourteen bands from Colorado competed in a parade and field shows Saturday.

Fruita Monument’s marching band is reflected in a tuba during the parade competition in downtown Grand Junction. Fourteen bands from Colorado competed in a parade and field shows Saturday.

The high school students on the field may have had the horns on Saturday, but a group of boosters for the Montezuma Cortez High School marching band had plans for making some noise of their own.

As the band stepped off toward Stocker Stadium to compete, parents in the stand uncovered their newest noise weapon — about 50 orange and black plastic plates glued together with hard beans inside that accomplish loud noise just by shaking. They slyly passed the “instruments” to all who wanted one.

“Vern, do you want one?” a booster asked, offering one to a man holding hot cocoa and donning a poncho as he stood on the stairs in the stadium’s stands. Vern shook his head no. Nevertheless, every “instrument” was used, and the Montezuma Cortez boosters were the loudest fans in the stadium.

Montezuma Cortez won first place in Class 4 for parade and got an outstanding inspection award.

They were among 13 bands that competed in the Colorado West Invitational Marching Band Festival that included shows by Horizon High School, which performed Saturday-morning-cartoon theme songs such as “Pink Panther” and “The Flintstones,” and Central High School, which made an early go of perfecting its field show, “The Divine Comedy,” with music composed by Robert W. Smith.

“I’d like to see any football team try to do this kind of precision,” said Kathy Joseph, music coordinator for School District 51.

Precision is what football game-goers and marching band followers will see, especially if they look out for the student from Central High School’s winter guard club who crashed his school’s marching flag line for his senior year.

Caleb Vega, 17, who went into a brief solo routine in one of the first sets of the musical score, landed a six-hilt saber (sword) toss that topped at least 15 feet in the air.

“The challenge today was that everything I picked up was wet from the rain —  the rifles, the sabers, everything,” said Vega, whose color guard practices 10 to 15 hours a week. Nonetheless, not one piece of show equipment Vega tossed hit the ground throughout the show. His color guard teammates were impressive alongside him, in rhapsodic coordination with flags and bold in saber and rifle lines.

Central High won for most outstanding field show, outstanding auxiliary (color guard), outstanding drum major and best in parade among the four Class 5A schools competing.

Delta High School, whose marching band became 2A champions at state competition, also made a strong showing, sweeping the awards for outstanding field show, auxiliary and percussion in class 1A through 3A.

“Today it’s the warm-up, and we will go to state qualifying events in 10 days,” Joseph said. “The bands go back and make changes and improvements now to qualify for state.”

The Western Slope Region state qualifying event will be at 1 p.m. Oct. 14 at Stocker Stadium.


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