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Seventh annual Festival of Winds brings high school band members to CSU-Pueblo

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High school students participated in the Festival of Winds on CSU-Pueblo's campus. Photo by Jessica Warren.
High school band members participated in the Festival of Winds in CSU-Pueblo’s Hoag Hall Feb. 5-7. Photo by Jessica Warren.

The seventh annual Festival of Winds brought high school band members to CSU-Pueblo’s Hoag Hall Feb. 5-7.

This program works to enrich high school bands through small group rehearsals and master classes with CSU-Pueblo faculty.

Students were also able to enjoy a weekend series of concerts for free.

A select few of the nominated students were chosen to receive specific awards, in addition to the showcase of talent.

Four students received CSU-Pueblo music department scholarships and marching band service awards. Trumpet player Nathan Gaines-Chyr received $9,700 in awards; trombone player Julian Farmer received $11,700; trumpet player Brennan Pantleo received $9,700; and saxophone player Connor Thomas was awarded with $11,700.

Four students also received CSU-Pueblo academic scholarships.

These included trumpet player and distinguished scholar Jessie Patch, who received $29,700 in awards; saxophone player and distinguished scholar Makenna Green, who was awarded with $31,700; trombone player and distinguished scholar Jake Henderson, who received $33,700; and clarinet player and presidential scholar Isabel Taylor, received $43,700 in awards.

CSU-Pueblo students who attended the Festival of Winds concerts have enjoyed the variety of musical aspects that were played by the students.

“The Festival of Winds concert was a great and unique experience that I remember. The concert really opened up my eyes and made me appreciate the different types of musical literatures,” said CSU-Pueblo junior Trever Hess.

Some students enjoyed the concert because of its relatability and familiarity of song choice.

“There were very well-done solos and the concert was very enjoyable with crowd participation and some very well-known songs, like ‘Tequila’,” said CSU-Pueblo freshman Arianna Armendariz.

Participation in the Festival of Winds have grown in size, expanding to more than 360 high school students, which represent schools across Colorado and in neighboring states.

High school band directors nominated students to participate in the festival. Fifteen students are recommended and then given performance materials to prepare for their audition, which takes place at the start of the festival.

The students who rate highest in the audition process are placed in one of two wind orchestras. Students who are not selected for the wind orchestra are placed in one of two symphonic bands, which are equally weighted in ability based on audition results.

Past performances have included the Fountain Creek Brass Band, The United States Air Force Academy Band, a CSU-Pueblo Faculty Recital and performances by the University Wind Ensemble.

Each year, the Festival of Winds also brings in notable national and international guest clinicians to conduct each of the honor bands. Additionally, participating music teachers can register for one or two graduate credit options and participate in a master class, where they can conduct the University Wind Ensemble.