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Music fills M-CHS during state fest

Bands, choirs belt out tunes

Seventh-grader Madison Harmon, a Cortez Middle School student, was a bit nervous on Friday.

Soon, she would be on the stage in front of an audience, including judges, playing her trumpet with the CMS band as part of the Colorado High School Activities Association Music Festival at the Montezuma-Cortez High School.

Nearly 700 musicians and singers, both from middle school and high school from around the Four Corners area, arrived at Cortez High School for the event.

For Harmon, who has been playing the trumpet for two years, it was her first competition of this kind.

“We’ve been practicing a lot,” Harmon said. “I’m a little nervous.”

But it is all worth it, Harmon said.

“When I play the trumpet, it calms all my stress,” she said.

Don Waltman, of Windsor, said he taught band for 35 years and has been judging competitions for 20 years. The list of things judges look for is long: tone, notes, rhythm, and even posture.

“I see a lot of really great things going on,” Waltman said.

Cortez Middle School Band director Andrew Campo was pleased with the eighth-graders’ performance on Friday.

“That was fantastic,” he said. “That is the best CMS has played in years.”

The eighth-graders played “Activity March,” “Old Irish Tune” and “Sea Song Fantasy.”

“The judge was impressed with their maturity and dedication,” Campo said.

Anna Bullock and Maddi Cooper, both ninth-graders, performed first in the choir competition.

“It felt like it went really well,” Cooper said.

After they belted out three songs, they were critiqued by the judges.

“We need a little more expression in our singing,” Cooper said.

Bullock said she always looks forward to the event.

“It’s an opportunity for people to learn how to perform,” she said. “Everyone has a different sound. It’s fun to listen to others perform.”

Kaleb Burris, a junior at Cortez High School, said he was pleased with the choir’s performance.

They earned ratings of 2, based on a scale ranging from a high of 1 to a low of 5. The choir group scored a 1 on sight reading.

“You’ve gotta love singing,” Burris said. “I just like seeing other choirs and bands.”

When the day ended, the middle school band members scored well. The 8th-grade band was awarded a very high Excellent rating and a Superior rating in sight-reading. The 7th-grade band was awarded a Superior rating for their performance and an Excellent in sight-reading.