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Bear band members steal show

Fourteen Rifle High School band students attended the District VIII Northwest League Honor Band Clinic Nov. 8-9 at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek. The Bears’ band members stole the show, earning five first chair placements overall.

In order to make District Honor Band, students must first audition with their school band director. The band director then compiles the scores and ranks the students based on their ability. All of the band directors from the Western Slope meet at the beginning of October and the members of the Honor Band are chosen from these rankings.

Students representing Rifle High School were Lindsey Steele, Corina Abney and Julie Chelewski on flute; Kristina Esquibel, Jessica Cerise, Catie Bowden and Heidi Moss on B-flat clarinet; Jesse Vigil on alto saxophone; Jeff Brewer on tenor saxophone; Daniel Hough, Melissa Terry and Brittany Barth on trumpet; and Jenny Hughes and Eddie Patterson on trombone.



Once at the Honor Band Clinic, students must audition again for chair placement.

The best player will sit first chair in his or her section, the next best will sit second chair, and so on. Out of fourteen students attending from Rifle, Jesse Vigil, Daniel Hough, Brittany Barth, Catie Bowden, and Jenny Hughes sat first chair in their sections and no one sat less than fourth chair.



“It says a lot for the music programs in the Garfield Re-2 School District that out of 12 schools on the Western Slope sending students to play in a 106-piece band, fourteen of those came from Rifle,” commented Rifle High School Band Director Louis Johnson.”It is an even greater achievement that these students placed so highly within their sections.We had more students in first chair positions than any other attending school.”

The District Honor Band Clinic is a chance for the best students from schools throughout the Western Slope to come together for a weekend and prepare a concert of very challenging music.This year the guest clinician was Matthew Roeder, associate director of Bands at the University of Colorado in Boulder and director of the “Golden Buffalo” Marching Band. As an extra-special treat for students participating in the Honor Band Clinic, the University of Colorado Wind Symphony came on Saturday to give a performance and work one on one with the Honor Band students.

“It was really neat getting to sit beside those college players and get tips from them as we played through the music,” said Jesse Vigil. “It was a great experience and I really learned a lot.” The Honor Band students rehearsed all day Friday and Saturday and gave a performance at the Vilar Center Saturday evening. The program included Zo Elliott ‘s “British Eighth March,” the Bruce Houseknecht arrangement of “Salvation is Created,” “Cajun Folk Songs” by Frank Ticheli, Hugh M.Stuart’s “Three Ayres from Gloucester,” and the stirring William Himes rendition of “Amazing Grace.” As a grand finale for the concert, the District VIII Northwest League Honor Band combined with the University of Colorado Wind Symphony to perform Carmen Dragon’s “America the Beautiful.”

Guest clinician Matthew Roeder put it best when he exclaimed after the concert, “It was an extraordinary way to end a weekend working with extraordinary kids.”


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