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Montezuma-Cortez band confident about fall season

‘This show will bring down the house’
The Montezuma-Cortez High School band performs earlier this year at the homecoming football game.

This year’s Montezuma-Cortez High School marching band show will “bring down the house,” junior Taylor Wilbanks said.

The theme for this year is “The Witch and the Saint,” featuring original music by composer Steven Reineke. Wilbanks, who plays clarinet, said the music is energetic and fits nicely with the visuals and choreography of the show. The band is aiming to qualify for state finals on Oct. 31 in Grand Junction, and Wilbanks said she thinks the show is strong enough to help beat some rival bands.

“This show will bring down the house and hopefully bring a win back to Cortez,” she said.

Band director Rodney Ritthaler said he’s happy with the way things are going. The band has about 54 members, and has a good chance to qualify for state finals.

“If the students keep progressing like they have been, we’ll be in good shape,” he said.

M-CHS competes in the 2A marching band class, along with 11 other bands. The band will face those other groups Oct. 20 in Grand Junction for the regional qualifiers, and the eight top scorers will progress to state finals. On Oct. 29, the band will travel to St. George, Utah, to compete in the Red Rocks Marching Festival and the Bands of America regional contest.

The band 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.

Ritthaler said he likes the music and visual parts of the show. The band has received lots of positive comments about their new uniforms, which replaced a set that was 12 years old.

“The visual aspect of the uniforms is stunning,” he said.

The show includes four movements, including “Sisters,” “Sibylla’s Theme,” “Helena’s Theme” and “Finale.” Ritthaler said you can hear the good vs. evil theme of the show in the music.

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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