For the 33rd time in the past 35 years, the Montezuma-Coretz marching band is once again heading to state.
After placing first in their class at regionals in Grand Junction, the marching Panthers are sitting third overall in Class 2A with 60.4 points, behind D’Evelyn High School (64.4) and The Classical Academy (65.10).
However, the points mean little at this point, as the schools were judged at different regionals.
“Although the judges are trained on what to look for and have been band directors themselves, the group of judges that traveled around weren’t always the same,” explained M-CHS band director Rodney Ritthaler. “So it’s very subjective, but when we all go to the state competition it will be a new panel of judges.”
At state, schools will be judged by the same panel who critique individual music execution, individual marching and maneuvering, music execution ensemble and marching execution ensemble.
They will also be scored by two visual judges and a GE judge.
“What they do,” Ritthaler said of the visual judges, “Is they look at the show as it relates to the drill design on the field and how the music is portrayed and how well, or how effective everything is working.”
“And then the GE judge is basically, how well does it affect the audience members,” he continued. “How impactful is it.”
The Colorado Bandmasters Association state competition will be held at CSU-Pueblo’s Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl Stadium on Monday, Oct. 26, and the Panthers will be competing against eight other Class 2A schools, with just five moving on to the finals.
However, over the last three-plus decades of performing at the state level, the Panthers have failed to advance to the finals just twice.
M-CHS finished third last year, and second place the two years prior.
Ritthaler will lead 51 students - one drum major, three guard members, 11 percussionists and 36 brass and woodwinds - in their show titled, “Journey through the Far East.”
The band’s arrangement is comprised of two songs: “Variations on a Korean Folk Song” and “Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song.”
“Our arranger arranged them for this group so the melodies are kind of intertwined with each other,” Ritthaler said. “So you get the best of each.”
The Panthers are hoping that their show, “Journey through the Far East,” is impactful enough to bring home M-CHS’ sixth state title.