Matt Balderston and Ashlee Douglas, pictured here, are among the 11 Moffat County High School students scheduled to perform with the Northwest Colorado District Eight Honor Band this weekend. The two-day event begins Friday in Aspen and concludes Saturday night with a performance.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Matt Balderston and Ashlee Douglas, pictured here, are among the 11 Moffat County High School students scheduled to perform with the Northwest Colorado District Eight Honor Band this weekend. The two-day event begins Friday in Aspen and concludes Saturday night with a performance.

MCHS students selected to compete in regional honor band this weekend

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Eryn Leonard, foreground, a Moffat County High School junior, warms up in John Bolton’s band class Tuesday morning at the high school. Leonard is one of 11 MCHS band students selected to participate in the Northwest Colorado District Eight Honor Band on Friday and Saturday in Aspen.

At a glance ...

• Eleven Moffat County High School band students selected to participate in the Northwest Colorado District Eight Honor Band.

• The event takes place Friday and Saturday in Aspen.

• The honor band entails students performing with other high school musicians from Northwest Colorado.

• MCHS band director: Honor band allows participants to work collaboratively with musicians from other schools.

2011 Northwest Colorado District Eight Honor Band participants

Nicole Sollenberger

• Year: junior

• Instrument: flute

Katlyn Sollenberger

• Year: junior

• Instrument: flute

Jonnie Madsen

• Year: senior

• Instrument: clarinet

Abigail Gonzales

• Year: freshman

• Instrument: clarinet

Ashlee Douglas

• Year: junior

• Instrument: clarinet

Eryn Leonard

• Year: junior

• Instrument: alto saxophone

Lorelei Bagley

• Year: senior

• Instrument: baritone saxophone

Ryan Secules

• Year: freshman

• Instrument: trumpet

Amie Chadwick

• Year: senior

• Instrument: French horn

Kaitlen Bird

• Year: senior

• Instrument: trombone

Matt Balderston

• Year: junior

• Instrument: trombone

Quotable

“We hope that at the end of 16 hours we’ve got a cohesive enough group that the performance is spectacular.”

— John Bolton, Moffat County High School band director, on the Northwest Colorado District Eight Honor Band

When students from different high schools come together for an event, it’s usually in the name of competition, said John Bolton, Moffat County High School and Craig Middle School band director.

The Northwest Colorado District Eight Honor Band is different.

In honor band, students don’t vie for titles or jostle for awards. Instead, they harmonize.

“Once they’re in their seat, then they play fiercely as a group, not against one another,” Bolton said. “It’s a cooperative thing. That’s really important.”

This year, 11 MCHS students were selected to participate in the event, which takes place Friday and Saturday in Aspen and includes students from other high schools around the region, including those in Kremmling, Meeker and Glenwood Springs, Bolton said.

Although the students hail from different cities, they share a common purpose.

During the two-day event, they spend about 16 hours fine-tuning a selection of music together, as one large band, which they perform in a concert Saturday night.

“We hope that at the end of 16 hours we’ve got a cohesive enough group that the performance is spectacular,” Bolton said.

Students must apply to participate in the honor band, and a committee makes the selections. This year, about 20 MCHS students applied for the event, Bolton said, but only 11 made the cut.

Although the event is non-competitive, it still has its share of potentially nerve-wracking moments for the participants.

“It’s intimidating,” Bolton said. “These kids will have butterflies in their stomach, even the old hands that have been a couple of times.”

Participating in the event has its rewards, though. It teaches students how to gauge where they fit in relation to other performers in their section and the band as a whole, he said.

As much as honor band is centered around music, the event also has a social aspect. High school musicians can talk to other students who share a passion for music.

“I think it helps break the ice,” said Matt Balderston, an MCHS junior and second-year participant in the honor band. “You’re there for something that you share in common or else you wouldn’t be there at all.

“So you already have that foot in the door for a friendship that can last forever.”

The social aspect isn’t lost on Bolton.

The goal of honor band, he said, is to put aside any perceived differences between schools, forge new friendships and experiences, and work together to “play fantastic music.”

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Comments

Denise Bagley 3 years, 1 month ago

I think it's great that you wrote an article on the MCHS honor band, however I found the article lacking in recognition for the actual students who were selected. I've noticed recent articles about MCHS athletes, in which there were pictures of the individual students, or the whole team, and the names were listed. The kids in honor band deserve the same recognition as the students who happen to be star athletes. It would have been nice if you included a picture of the honor band students and the names of all eleven of the students who were chosen.

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Denise Bagley 3 years, 1 month ago

I want to thank the reporter for adding the names of the honor band students, after I posted my previous comment. Thanks for listening to your readers. :)

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