Glenwood percussion ensemble rated number one |

Glenwood percussion ensemble rated number one

John GardnerPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Sometimes a group of people assemble at the right place, at the right time, to create something extraordinary.The timing for the Glenwood Springs High School Percussion Ensemble is just right, for a group of kids with a common passion for music, to come together and create a lasting impression.Its important that when we crescendo, we all crescendo together, percussion coach Aaron Lundblad told the ensemble as they huddled in the GSHS music room Tuesday.Lundblad discussed their performance evaluation from the Rocky Mountain Percussion Association meet at Legacy High School in Broomfield this past weekend. The evaluation detailed the strengths and weaknesses of the groups first-place performance at the preliminary competition to the state championships.It was really exciting, said section leader Lauren Atkinson. I didnt expect to finish first, but I knew we would make the finals.No small feat. After all, its the first time for a team from the Western Slope taking first place at this level of competition. All the more impressive is the fact that this is only the second year of competition for GSHS. The group is composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores with only two seniors and four middle school students. Lundblad accepts all who are interested.There arent any other groups at this moment on the Western Slope, Lundblad said. We were hoping to grow the interest out here, but one drawback is you always have to go to Denver to compete.That didnt stop this group of kids from competing with schools like Gateway in Aurora, which Lundblad attended, that have had competitive percussion ensembles for decades. Lundblad is a big reason for the groups birth in the valley, and another reason for the success, according to Laurens mother Karen Atkinson.The fact that they accomplished this in their second year of existence, competing against schools that have had programs for 30 to 40 years, is evidence of their hard work and dedication. Not to mention the dedication and vision of Lundblad, Karen wrote in an e-mail to the Post Independent. Aaron has donated countless hours of his time and actually rearranged his work schedule to have more time to work with the kids.But Aaron humbly lays credit for the ensembles accomplishment on the kids.Im ecstatic at how well the kids have done, Lundblad said. They have spent countless hours of their own time practicing.Even more impressive, the group was stuck in traffic for five hours west of Frisco the day before the competition, turning the trip to Denver into a nine-hour adventure in a school bus. The kids only had about four hours of sleep the night before the competition. But it was nothing they couldnt handle.It was pretty daunting, Lundblad said. But when they got there and got in competition mode, they really stepped it up. Hopefully state will go a little smoother.The ensemble is currently ranked first going into the state competition on April 12, at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. And their nerves are beginning to present themselves.Im nervous, said freshmen Cami Marcon, wearing a shirt that reads, Will drum for food.I think well be able to pull it off, Cami said. Weve been practicing hard and weve got a lot of heart and determination when it comes to our music.All the little wooden and plastic mallets strike the bars of the marimbas, xylophones and vibraphones repeatedly. Like a loud machine working from side to side, the kids beat on their instruments, releasing the sound from within.The group is in tune, in sync, to crescendo at the state tournament just three weeks away.Its important that when we crescendo, Lundblad told the kids. We all crescendo together.Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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