Ray Beck, Craig City Council member, was 57 years old before he set foot in Colorado's Capitol building.
This weekend, he made sure that nine Moffat County High School instrumentalists had that chance much sooner in life.
On Saturday, Beck and his wife, Dixie, traveled to the governor's residence at the Boettcher Mansion in Denver for a celebration honoring the historic building's 100th anniversary.
Incidentally, the city of Craig also celebrated its Centennial this year. Similar invitations to the celebration were extended to other Colorado cities that reached the 100-year mark, Beck said.
Being a Craig Centennial Committee member, "I thought, 'Well, shoot, I'll jump on it,'" he added.
He and Dixie went prepared, taking Craig centennial hats, cups and coins with them to the governor's residence.
The couple was accompanied by John Bolton, MCHS band director, and nine high school musicians: Karen and Sarah Bolton, Amie Chadwick, Kathrine Cork, Slade Gurr, Kim Hill, Rose Howe, Kyra McClellan and Becky Meek.
Then, the unexpected happened.
Gov. Bill Ritter and his wife, Jeannie, made an appearance, descending from an upper level.
"We hadn't been there for more than 20 minutes and they popped down," Beck said.
The group shook hands with the governor. In return, Beck presented them with centennial memorabilia he had brought along.
After a private tour of the mansion and light refreshments, Bolton and his high school student musicians performed for two hours.
"They played their hearts out," Beck said.
Afterward, the group received a rare weekend tour of the Capitol building.
Beck chose to invite MCHS students on the trip to give them something he didn't: A behind-the-scenes look at state landmarks at an early age.
"I have to tell you, those kids were very respectful," Beck said.
And, from what he could see, the youths enjoyed themselves, too.
"All the kids were asking questions," he said. "They were taking pictures."
This year may not be the last time local students get a chance to visit the Capitol.
"I think because of this, (there are) going to be other opportunities for them to go back there in 2009," Beck said.
Bolton was unavailable for comment.
Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org