marching band israel marquez

Montrose High School marching band’s Israel Marquez practices playing the saxophone Thursday.

There’s no doubt that the Montrose High School marching band has a track record of success, which incoming middle schoolers hope to be a part of one day.

MHS drum major Brady Cassidy recalled feeling that way when she was an incoming freshman only a few years ago.

“We hear that they’re really good,” said Cassidy, who was in band in middle school. “... My older sister’s friend, who was in marching band, told me how good of a program it was, and I figured I would give it a try and I stuck around because I liked it a lot.”

About 100 high schoolers took part in the MHS marching band’s two-day camp this week to get ready for this upcoming season.

This year’s turnout is somewhat tinier than in recent memory, said MHS band director Josiah St. Peter.

“This is one of our smaller groups but the intensity, drive and overall commitment of this group is very high,” he said.

Cassidy said she’s noticed that as well from the younger students.

“It’s nice to see all the people come out,” said Cassidy. “It’s really early in the summer. They just finished school. They probably want a break. But they are motivated to get this done.”

She added practices are running smoothly because of student passion.

MHS is coming off taking seventh-place last year at the state competition. It was Montrose’s sixth-straight year as a state finalist.

Montrose High School sophomore Israel Marquez, who plays the saxophone, said keeping the program’s state finalist run has been critical for the band members. Past year’s success also shows them how they can improve and do even better, he added.

But for now, technique is more of the focus, St. Peter said. During the camp, a good chunk of the time was spent helping students become more accustomed to moving with their instruments as for some this is the first time doing so, the Montrose band director said.

“Normally, they’re sitting down in middle school band,” St. Peter said. “... This is more of crawling before we walk.”

This camp isn’t the only time the Montrose students will perfect their craft this year. The band will practice every Thursday in July before the team’s two-week camp on Aug. 1.

The marching band will use that time to work on their theme for this season, “Hymn to the Sun.” The show is based on nature and visuals including the sunrise, high noon and sunset.

“It’s an easy concept that we can be very artistic with,” St. Peter said.

Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.

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