Heather Dahlberg leads the Moffat County High School choir Monday during the Northwestern Vocal Large Group Festival hosted by MCHS in Craig. The Colorado High School Activities Association event rates choirs on a five-point scale. The MCHS choir received the highest rating of 1, or superior, for its performance.

Photo by Joe Moylan

Heather Dahlberg leads the Moffat County High School choir Monday during the Northwestern Vocal Large Group Festival hosted by MCHS in Craig. The Colorado High School Activities Association event rates choirs on a five-point scale. The MCHS choir received the highest rating of 1, or superior, for its performance.

MCHS choir earns top rating at CHSAA event

MCHS, CMS bands also fare well at competition

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Craig Middle School seventh-grade band member Carson Flint listens Monday to instructions for the sight reading portion of the Northwestern Instrumental Large Group Festival, a competition hosted at Moffat County High School. The seventh-grade band earned a rating of two, or excellent, for the sight reading portion of the competition and earned a rating of excellent for its overall performance.

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Members of the Moffat County High School choir perform "Great and Glorious" on Monday en route to a "superior" rating during the Northwestern Vocal Large Group Festival hosted at MCHS.

Moffat County High School choir

• Director Heather Dahlberg

• Jacob Archuleta

• Wesley Atkin

• Tennielle Bell

• Angelica Bernal

• Trey Choice

• Faith Christiansen

• Emily Counts

• Diamond Craig

• Sarah Dippel

• Shianna Dockins

• Ashlee Douglas

• Hannah Dove

• Paige Durbin

• Kyleen Ellgen

• Jennifer Foos

• Skyler Gerini

• Samantha Gingrich

• Evan Hall

• Caitlin Harjes

• Tracer Hickman

• Zachary Jaffrey

• Travis Johnson

• Trevor Johnson

• Riley Johnston

• Ahliah Kalik

• Krista Lawrence

• Dakota Lee

• Trenton Lee

• Bailey Lucke

• Derek Maiolo

• Dustin Martin

• Moriah Mecham

• Tiffany Melton

• Krista Meyers

• Mark Nava

• Dakota Nelson

• Lisa Noland

• Jaremie Ogden

• Jovanna Powers

• Sheyenne Rambo-Cromer

• Randa Reed

• Hannah Reynolds

• Jessica Scott

• Jason Soos

• Gaven Spears

• Barry Steadman

• Jacob Stewart

• Morgan Switzler

• Felicia Vasquez

• Kyla Warne

• Deniqua Williams

• Christopher Williamson

— The Moffat County High School Choir received a rating of “superior” Monday during a seven-school competition hosted by MCHS in Craig.

The Northwestern Vocal Large Group Festival, a Colorado High School Activities Association event, featured high school choirs from Craig, Steamboat Springs, Rifle, Rangely, Grand Valley, Lake County and Glenwood Springs.

The competition is judged by music educators from throughout the state who rank each choir’s performance on a five-point scale, with one being “superior” and five being “unprepared.”

Although the MCHS choir received the highest score for its overall performance, Director Heather Dahlberg said she’s already thinking about ways to improve for next year’s festival.

“I picked a lot of upbeat pieces because they’re fun, but I might switch it up with a slower piece next time,” Dahlberg said.

The competition encompasses two main components: the performance of three prepared pieces followed by a sight reading.

For MCHS’s three prepared pieces, Dahlberg chose “Joyfully Sing With Pleasure,” “Great and Glorious” and “Tambur,” which represent the Renaissance, Classical and 20th-century periods, respectively.

Dahlberg picked those pieces to expose her students to different periods of music.

Although the MCHS choir received an overall rating of one, it scored a two, or excellent, for the sight reading portion of the competition.

Sight readings are blind and test a choir’s ability to learn a piece they never have seen before in about five minutes.

Considering this was the first time the MCHS choir participated in a sight reading competition, Dahlberg said she was OK with the slightly lower score.

“I was really focused on scoring well in what we know,” Dahlberg said. “Overall, I think we did really well, and I’m really proud of the kids for earning a score of one.”

The CHSAA event is scored, but Craig Middle School and Moffat County High School Band Director John Bolton said it’s not competitive in the sense that each choir is measuring itself against other schools.

After the competition, choir directors receive notes from the judges that will help them choose literature next year to not only address weaknesses but also highlight strengths, Bolton said.

Although choir is just like any other high school activity, where the focus is on education, Bolton said it’s fun to have days when the primary focus is on the music.

“Yesterday, I had a student who just had one of those crappy days, but once he got up there singing, I could see it all faded away,” Bolton said Monday. “There’s something about music. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life. For just a few minutes, the performance becomes the center of your universe.”

In addition to coordinating the vocal part of the festival, Bolton directed the MCHS band and the Craig Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade bands during the Northwestern Instrumental Large Group Festival, which was held in conjunction with the choir event.

Like the vocal festival, the MCHS and CMS bands performed prepared numbers in addition to participating in a sight reading competition.

The MCHS band received ratings of two across the board.

“You’re always shooting for a one rating, and I’m still looking for that magic bullet that puts us over the top,” Bolton said. “But at the end of the day, the kids won’t remember the numbers; they’ll remember how they performed and how that made them feel.”

The seventh- and eighth-grade bands also fared well during the competition, earning ratings of two and one, respectively.

The eighth-grade band was the only group out of 12 middle and high school participants to earn a superior rating, Bolton said.

“It’s kind of similar to saying they won first place,” he said. “Overall, Moffat County had a really good showing at the festival. I’m really proud of all of our students.”

Joe Moylan can be reached at 970-875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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