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Cortez marching band qualifies for state competition

Group ranked second in class
Sam Green/The Journal<br><br>The Montezuma-Cortez High School band performs earlier this year at the homecoming football game.

The Montezuma-Cortez High School marching band qualified for the Colorado Bandmasters Association’s state contest after taking first place in the 2A class at the CBA West Slope Regional in Grand Junction this weekend, band director Rodney Ritthaler said.

With a score of 64.20, the 54-member band is now in second place out of 10 bands in the state’s 2A class. Seven bands qualified for the state contest Monday in Grand Junction.

Before the state contest, the band will travel to St. George, Utah, to compete in the Red Rocks Marching Festival on Friday and the Bands of America regional contest on Saturday. Then they make the drive to Grand Junction.

The theme for the band’s competition show this year is “The Witch and the Saint,” featuring original music by composer Steven Reineke. It has a good vs. evil theme and includes four movements — “Sisters,” “Sibylla’s Theme,” “Helena’s Theme” and “Finale,” Ritthaler said.

The band also competed on Sept. 24 at the Colorado West Music Fest in Grand Junction, and took the top prize in the 2A class, Ritthaler said. The band had the fifth-highest score overall at the show among the 14 bands in all classes, he said.

Band members this year are marching in new uniforms, which replaced a 12-year-old set. Ritthaler said the band has received lots of positive comments about the new uniforms.

Earlier this month, Ritthaler said the goal each year for the band is to put in hard work and feel satisfied with the performances. If it can do that, its place and score are less important.

“Each year, the goal is to play as musically and maturely as they can,” he said. “I always try to make them as good as they possibly can be.”

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