Centaurus Marching Band Heads to State with Highest 4A Score

Keegan Gomez went to all of his older brother’s performances with the Centaurus High School Marching Band, ending with a show at the State Marching Band Championships at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

“I’ve seen them progress and improve with each show,” he said. “To see them walking up against each other and backing up while playing music is crazy. I liked it.”

On Wednesday, members of the Centaurus High School marching band rehearse in Lafayette. (Matthew Jonas/staff photographer)

Now a senior and one of two drum majors in the Centaurus Marching Band, his name will be announced Saturday as the band takes to the field at Falcon Stadium in hopes of winning the state title.

“Now we’re that band people are turning to,” he said. “It’s just really cool.”

The Lafayette School heads into Saturday’s Colorado Bandmasters Association State Marching Band Championships with the top score for Group 4As. The second highest score in Class 4A is Loveland High. Classifications are based on school, not group size.

The other Boulder Valley groups competing this year are Broomfield High, Fairview High and Monarch High – with Fairview and Monarch both advancing to Saturday’s semi-finals after appearing in Friday’s quarter-finals. Legacy High, which has the second highest Group 5A score after regional competitions, also competes from Broomfield.

At Centaurus, the students spent three nights this week fine-tuning their show, practicing in the freezing darkness of the school grounds. They wrapped up practice with a community show on Wednesday night. Gomez estimates the students spent 300 hours rehearsing.

“It’s a bit bittersweet because I’m a senior and this will be my last show,” he said.

LAFAYETTE, CO - OCTOBER 26: Centaurus High School junior member and color guard Cortney DiRosa, left, performs during marching band rehearsal in Lafayette on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. Centaurus is heading to the Marching Band Championships in State of the Colorado Bandmasters Association 2022 at Falcon Stadium on the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on October 28-29.  (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Cortney DiRosa, left, a junior member and color guard at Centaurus High School, performs during marching band rehearsal in Lafayette on Wednesday. (Matthew Jonas/staff photographer)

Their show is called “Fly Away” – a name coined by Gomez during a contest to design the show’s t-shirt.

“It’s a pretty simple show theme, but it’s effective,” he said. “For the closer, the color guard has big winged pennants, and they will fly. It is an uplifting spectacle.

The band’s manager, Aaron Vogelsberg, said that coming out of the Marshall Fire which burned 6,000 acres in nearby communities, the band wanted a “lighter, happier” show. Once he found the music, a design team created the show around the idea of ​​migrating birds.

When Vogelsberg started at the school 15 years ago, the group numbered only around 40 students. Before the pandemic, enrollment had increased to nearly 125 students. This year, the group includes around 100 students – as with most marching bands in the region, fewer students signed up as schools were closed and shows cancelled.

This year’s seniors also missed the chance to play in two state competitions, with 2019 scuttled due to cold weather and 2020 canceled due to the pandemic. In 2021 – after not walking and playing mostly from home the previous year – Centaurus rallied and took third place.

This year they have only improved.

“There’s something about this group that’s special,” Vogelsberg said. “They work hard and are advanced musically. We have wonderful student leaders. They really set the bar on how the band wants to perform. Group 4A is so competitive. Getting into the state in the first place is an accomplishment in itself. These kids work so hard. Good to see it paying off. »

LAFAYETTE, CO - OCTOBER 26: Centaurus High School sophomore Mallory Deneau performs during band rehearsal in Lafayette on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. Centaurus is heading to the 2022 Colorado Bandmasters Association State Marching Band Championships at Falcon Stadium on the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on October 28-29.  (Matthew Jonas/photographer)
Centaurus High School sophomore Mallory Deneau performs at Marching Band rehearsal in Lafayette on Wednesday. (Matthew Jonas/staff photographer)

The second drum major, Graeme Appel senior, took the role last year after a medical condition caused heart failure and he could no longer walk. Although he was hesitant at first, he said, he came to love taking on a leadership role.

“I joined the band because I heard it was such a great community and because of my love for music,” said Appel, a trumpeter. “As a drum major, I can motivate everyone.”

He said the group was ready for Saturday’s competition.

“We have an incredible team and everyone in the group was so motivated and wanted to push themselves,” he said.

Sloane Weiss, a sophomore who plays tenor saxophone, said she joined the marching band in eighth grade because she wanted to be part of the community of “truly amazing” bands.

LAFAYETTE, CO - OCTOBER 26: The Centaurus High School Marching Band rehearses in Lafayette on Wednesday, October 26, 2022. Centaurus heads to the 2022 Colorado Bandmasters Association State Marching Band Championships at United States Air Force Academy Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs on October 28 and 29.  (Matthew Jonas / Personal Photographer)
On Wednesday, the Centaurus High School Marching Band rehearses in Lafayette. (Matthew Jonas/staff photographer)

“You have dance, music and art all together,” she said. “It’s a good way to express yourself differently.”

She added that she was thrilled to perform at State.

“You work day in and day out, and your work pays off,” she said. “We train in the summer when it’s 100 degrees and now when it’s freezing. You really have to persevere. It really brings out the best in all of us.

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