LAHS winds group earns first place at state

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By Kirsten Laskey

Throughout the school year, Los Alamos High School bands have been playing the tune of success and were able to finish their victorious score during the New Mexico Activities Association State Concert Festival in April.

The winds ensemble and symphonic band traveled to Cibola High School in Albuquerque to compete. While the symphonic band performed for comments only, the winds ensemble captured first place in the AAAA division.

“The kids worked hard at it,” band director Charles Faulkner said. “(They) faced real challenging material and played it really well.”

Faulkner explained the judges, which included Charles Bartrug, high school band director and coordinator of instrumental music in Yukon, Okla.; Steven Eggleston, professor of music at Wesleyan University, Illinois, and music director and conductor of Wesleyan Civic Orchestra and wind ensemble; and Mike Mozingo, associate director of bands at Louis Palmer High School; were looking for proficient performance of music, good intonation, blend and accuracy.

Faulkner said 15 high schools and 11 middle schools competed in the competition.

To compete, Faulkner said the bands needed to score a first or second- division rating at the district competition or score 80 or above at the state contest the previous year.

The high school band earned a second- place finish in the district competition, which was held April 10.

As the finale to their successful year, the bands are hosting a concert at 7 p.m. today at Duane Smith Auditorium. The concert is free and will feature Aspen and Mountain elementary school bands, the LAHS jazz band, and both high school concert groups.

“We had a very good year, competitively,” Faulkner said. “We placed in every marching competition we entered. We did well at district and did very well at the state competition. We’re happy about that.”

This is especially impressive, Faulkner said, because the bands are the only ones at their level that do not meet every day. The kids did it in half the time, he said.

“I’m very proud of what they accomplished,” Faulkner added.