Talented trio named to all-state band

Montezuma-Cortez High School students Kyle Baacke, Hayden Cook and Sarah Lewis were selected for the Colorado All-State Band. Enlargephoto

Journal/Sam Green

Montezuma-Cortez High School students Kyle Baacke, Hayden Cook and Sarah Lewis were selected for the Colorado All-State Band.

Three Montezuma-Cortez High School seniors were among 150 students named to the Colorado All-State Band.

The honor allowed them to perform at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in April with other top student musicians in the state.

Sarah Lewis, who has been playing the clarinet for less than six months and Kyle Baacke, a trumpet player, were named to the honor band for smaller schools, while Hayden Cook, with the bass trombone, was selected to the honor band for the bigger schools.

Rodney Ritthaler, M-CHS director of bands, said 850 students from across Colorado auditioned to be a part of this group.

Only about 150 who audition make either the all-state honor band for smaller schools or the honor band for larger schools.

Ritthaler said any student can make the larger honor all-state band group if they play well enough, regardless of the school size they attend.

He also said making this honor band is the equivalent of an athlete winning a state competition.

Lewis said she was a little surprised to be named to the all-state band because she had only been playing the clarinet for a few months after being asked by Ritthaler if she would trade in her flute for a clarinet to help the entire band.

She said the changing of instruments was difficult, and added she took lessons to get herself up to speed with the clarinet.

After switching to the clarinet, Lewis decided she preferred this instrument over the flute, which she still plays from time to time and mentioned there is one number in the jazz band that requires her to play the flute.

Lewis said she did not audition for the all-state competition last year when she was primarily a flute player.

She mentioned she has already auditioned and was accepted into the music program at Colorado State University.

She said while her degree is in general music, she still wants to and plans on continuing to perform.

Ritthaler said he was most surprised with Lewis’ performance because of her inexperience in playing the clarinet.

Cook, who has played the bass trombone for the last six years, said he was pretty surprised to hear he had been selected to be in the symphonic winds band for the larger schools because he was not selected to be in any all-state band as a junior.

“This was pretty cool,” he said. “I was pretty surprised. That is for sure.”

He said not doing too well in last year’s audition in 2011 made him work harder this past year, and the hard work convinced him to pursue a degree in music.

Cook received a music scholarship from the University of Utah and plans to focus on musical performance in college.

Baacke, who has played the trumpet for six years, said he was surprised to be named to the all-state band, because he thought his audition went badly, and he added he was happy the judges disagreed.

Baacke also said learning how to play the trumpet was not easy, but said he likes this instrument because it is loud and fun to play.

He said, while music will not be his major in college, he plans on continuing to perform.

Reach Michael Maresh at michaelm@cortezjournal.com