Wind ensemble hopes to improve after critical feedback

Megan Battleson, Staff Writer

Criticism can be hard to swallow.  On Wednesday, West’s wind ensemble traveled to Fort Collins for the
honesty that they hope will bring improvement. Throughout the week, different schools across Colorado
hosted the annual Colorado Bandmasters Association. West musicians were accompanied by director
Mr. Chet Arthur and student teacher Mr. Keaton Michel on their performance at the Fort Collins High
School location.

The ensemble performed two pieces, “Fantasia on a Theme” by Thomas Tallis and “The Witch and the
Saint,” both of which had been worked for several months prior to the contest. During the performance,
three trained judges recorded verbal feedback for the group to review and consider, and a fourth judge
took notes on what to work on during the clinic. This feedback was then used by the judges to score the
ensemble ranging from “superior” to “ineffective and unprepared.”

The Spartan musicians were awarded an “excellent” rating, just below “superior” status. The group is pleased with their result eventhough it may not have been their best performance. “I think we should be really happy with 2s
(excellent) just because I know we’ve played it better,” senior Ethan Shepard commented. After the
performance, the clinician took the musicians off stage and actively worked the pieces to help them
acknowledge what to improve on.

This was the first year that West has brought an ensemble to CBA since 2006. As West added an
additional contest to their agenda, the group hopes to improve greatly and prepare better performances
for upcoming contests. “I think we are going to get a lot better in the next month now that we know
what to work on,” Shepard said. “It was a good learning experience because we got exposed to what we
are aspiring to be.” Following this competition, the band is preparing for contests in Grand Junction and
the annual CHSAA Large Group Music Festival in late March and April.

The group may not have felt as comfortable at the new contest, but they still represented the Spartans
with pride. “It was a lot better than I originally thought it was going to be,” Shepard stated. “We ended
up being right up there with the other bands.”