A bittersweet melody

For four Moffat County seniors, tonight marks the final band performance of high school

Suspense is building toward the end of the year, particularly for four Moffat County High School seniors who perform their final concert tonight.

The high school's jazz and concert bands present the Spring Band Awards Concert along with the sixth-grade varsity wind ensemble from Craig Intermediate School and seventh- and eighth-grade bands from Craig Middle School.

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"It's just the culmination of a really great year, the best year of my career," Director John Bolton said. "I said that last year. I hope I never quit saying that."

The four seniors -- Brandon Bullock, Chane Smith, Amber Suits and D.J. Williams -- said tonight marks the end of four successful years for them.

Williams has played saxophone for six years and currently plays baritone sax in the jazz band.

"It's fun to play music in school," Williams said. "It's fun to play music, period."

Smith thinks so, too. So much so in fact, he's making it his career. In the fall, he starts his studies in music education at the University of Northern Colorado.

Smith said he's looking forward to the new chapter of his life. But tonight's concert is bittersweet.

"I'm excited that it's almost over because I can move on and start the rest of my life," Smith said. "But this band's been a big part of my life for the last four years, so that's sort of rough."

Bullock said he's looking forward to the possibility of a Moffat County alumni band.

"It's kind of weird that I won't be able to come back here and play with these guys," he said.

It's particularly difficult because band has offered Bullock a different experience than his other high school courses.

"It's more of a challenge, I think," he said. "The aspect of being able to do something and be good at it is exciting."

The time and energy spent during the past several years are what make tonight's concert special for Suits.

"I've been playing concerts all year," she said. "We're the seniors, and it's our last concert, so we're going to get most of the recognition."

Part of that recognition includes the John Philip Sousa and Louis Armstrong awards, presented to senior "outstanding student musicians" in the concert and jazz bands, respectively.

Directors will also present outstanding junior, sophomore and freshmen awards, as well as contest ratings, and they will name the students who have lettered in band.

Bullock said he looks forward most to performing a solo with Bolton during the jazz band's performance tonight.

"I've been through three different (directors), and he's the best," Bullock said of Bolton. "He understands the kids a lot better than others do and he has the experience."

Bolton said his goal is to become a fixture of Moffat County's band program, one that's steadily growing each year.

"There's a longevity that's starting to develop here," Bolton said. "I'm part of the furniture now. I go with the band room."

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