Dancing to the Sound of State

Symphonic Band qualifies for state competition in April

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photo by Zachary Fruits

The Symphonic band works with clinician and band director at Rocky Mountain High School, Casey Cropp, after their performance at Castle View High school March 6. Cropp discussed his interpretation of the music and his thoughts on how the band could improve for state. “I’m really excited for State. It’s just a day that we are all really looking forward to,” clarinet player Annie Deschane ‘20 said.

by Emily Wilson and Ava Dunn

Three judges, other bands watching from the audience, and blinding lights shining from above. In the midst of this intense pressure, the Symphonic Band made history.

The Colorado Bandmasters Association (CBA) is a group that serves to promote band ensembles throughout the state. In the fall, the association sponsors the CBA Marching Band competitions and in the spring they sponsor the CBA Concert festivals. There are six regional competitions throughout Colorado. Those who are the top bands in the state compete in CBA State April 21 in Fort Collins and for the first time in years, the Rock Canyon Symphonic band qualified to perform.

“For the first time this generation, we scored super well in the regional competition so that means we earned straight superior ratings,” band director Zachary Fruits said. “This year we were the best group that Rock Canyon has ever seen.”

The scoring scale goes from one to five. A one being the best (superior) and a five  (poor) being the lowest score. Much like in golf, the lower the score the better. The judges that critique at State have a harder grading scale than those at Regionals.

“The judges at the state competition are even more picky and more difficult to please so we need to continue to refine our repertoire,” Fruits said. “I think the great thing about the pieces we chose was there is even more room for musicality.” 

The day started with the Symphonic Band members arriving at Castle View High school at 7:30 a.m.. The students first went to watch another band perform in the auditorium, then moved to a short warm-up, then to their performance. The band played three songs, “Sun Dance by Frank Ticheli, “Blue and Green by Samuel R. Hazo, and “The Stormchasers” by Robert Sheldon. Following their performance, the band was met by clinician Casey Cropp, who critiqued and provided opinions on the songs played by the band. 

“I think it went pretty well, as a band we all practiced to make sure we would be the best we could be. I liked playing for the other schools and hearing them play as well,” Nikhila Naraynaa ‘22 said. 

The group has been working on the three pieces of music since the middle of December, but now must replace one piece with a new work. The Stormchasers will be replaced with a new march that has yet to be determined. 

“We have to take away one of the pieces that we had for the regionals and add a new piece. We will be working on that over the next couple of weeks,” Fruits said. 

The band practiced both during class periods and on the students’ own time. While the judges scored the group as superior, some members of the band believe that there were sections in the music that could have been stronger.

“I think we could have done better on Sundance,” flute player Dylan Bettie ‘20 said. “We did a flute sectional the week before [the performance] during access.”

Rock Canyon will be one of 36 other bands performing over the course of the two-day state competition. While countless hours went into preparing for the Regional competition, many more will go into preparing for State within the next month.