All-Colorado Honors Band performs for 69th annual festival


Students participating in All-Colorado Honors Band smile for group photo.

Kate Donohoe, News Reporter

The 69th annual All-Colorado Honors Band festival was held at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado this past February 24-26, 2022. Montrose High School juniors Kenadee Hadlock, a percussionist, and Vance Couturier, a trumpet player, were both participants.

The festival and concert for the All-Colorado Honors Band was an opportunity for skilled high school musicians to further improve and learn from fellow musicians and professionals in the field as well as to show off their work.

According to the Western Colorado University website, highlights of the festival included:
“Music making under the baton of Dr. Jacquie Dawson (Director of Bands, University of Manitoba), Perform[ing] two World Premieres by our award winning Honor Band Resident Composers: Tom Davoren & Dr. Ben Justis— including discussions with both composers at the festival, a performance with Dr. McLaughlin as soloist, sectionals with experts, a Musician’s Health Clinic by Dr. McLaughlin, and optional scholarship auditions to attend WCU as a music major, music minor, or non-major.”

To be accepted into the All-Colorado Honors Band, participants had to audition via video for their respective instruments by December 1, 2021. Each instrument had a unique set of materials to be auditioned with.

“It’s different for every instrument, but mine was in the Snedecor etudes book, I think it was etude I and X, but we had to play an excerpt from these etudes that are pretty hard, then we also had to do a chromatic scale,” Couturier said.

Upon being accepted from their audition videos, participants had a set of rehearsals, sectionals, clinics, talks with composers, and social activities on Thursday, February 24, Friday, February 25, and Saturday, February 26 to practice and learn from as a collective before the performance together on Saturday.

“We arrived Thursday afternoon and rehearsed that evening, all day Friday, and the morning of Saturday,” Hadlock said. “We performed a singular concert at 2:00 Saturday afternoon.”

Participants were able to enjoy instruction and conducting from top conductor Dr. Jacqueline Dawson, as well as resident WCU composers Tom Davoren and Dr. Ben Justis.

“My favorite part of this experience was working with the head of percussion Dr. Justis,” Hadlock said. “He taught me so many techniques and I learned so many things over the three days there. This reminded me why I love concert percussion so much and brought back my love for performing in a concert band setting.”

“The musicianship and artistry of everyone in the band [stood out],” Couturier said. It was so cool just being there in a room with musicians from around the state who are all on it and who just know so much about it. It was just great.”