7 Coronado musicians named All-State

       Six Coronado High School musicians have successfully auditioned - among nearly 900 statewide - for the 110-member Colorado All-State Band, which will play at the University of Northern Colorado in March.
Saraiya Ruano, Nic Mahoy, Ben Wolf, Katy Simpson, Katie Oldberg.
Westside Pioneer photo
Josh Brewer.
Westside Pioneer photo Shauna Close.
Westside Pioneer photo

       A seventh student, Josh Brewer (sophomore), violin, was selected to the All-State Orchestra.
       The band honorees are: Shauna Close (senior), bassoon; Katie Oldberg (junior), trombone; Katy Simpson (senior), clarinet; Ben Wolf (senior), bass trombone; Nic Mahoy (junior), trombone - alternate; Saraiya Ruano (junior), flute - alternate.
       Wolf also made the All-State Orchestra, roughly 100-strong, for which about 350 auditioned, according to orchestra director Mindi Loewen. The orchestra played at CU Boulder in February.
       Band director Alan Combs spoke highly of his selected students, not only for their music talents but for their leadership and academic skills. “They're very motivated, they get good grades in all their classes, and they always go above and beyond what's expected,” he said.
       As examples, he pointed out how Simpson organized a senior-freshman band day last fall to help the ninth-graders “feel comfortable at Coronado”; Wolf, a repeat All-State selection, formed a brass quintet that rehearses on its own and plays outside gigs; and Close had the idea for Coronado to hold a benefit concert recently for the victims of the Castle West fire.
       Oldberg's older brother Colin (a trumpet player) also made All-State at Coronado before graduating in '05. Katie's family lineage also includes an uncle who played French horn in the Chicago Symphony for 30 years, Combs noted.
       Brewer, a sophomore, “is an amazing student with incredible musicianship skills,” Loewen said. “His peers really respect him as he is a leader of the highest quality - he is positive, mature, very excited about music.”
       Other awards for recent Ruano recently have been from the American Birding Association and the Colorado Reflections competition (literature category).
       All six band honorees are also members of Coronado's Jazz Band 1, which was judged the best from 26 high schools at the recent High Plains Jazz Festival at Chaparral High School.
       Here are their answers to three questions from the Westside Pioneer:

       What got you started?
       Ruano - When I first heard a Native American flute in a gift shop, I decided that's what I wanted to play. At first, we could not find a Native American flute teacher, so I got started with classical flute instead. Now I play both.
       Wolf - I wanted to play in the band.
       Mahoy - The local elementary band teacher made her rounds trying to recruit students to band. I immediately went to Graner and picked up a trombone. Nothing interesting.
       Oldberg - My parents were a big influence, and my older brother plays trumpet.
       Simpson - I thought for the longest time I wanted to play trumpet. However, at our school's band concert, the first chair clarinet had a solo, and I fell in love with its sound.
       Close - My band director got in a bassoon and asked for volunteers to learn how to play it and I signed up.
       Brewer - My best friend played for about six months and I just wanted to prove that I was better than him, so I started.
       Why did you focus on this instrument?
       Ruano - I love the flute and learning to play at increasingly challenging levels. It's just fun to practice and practice, then finally you play the whole piece beautifully.
       Wolf - The fourth-grade band needed more trombones, and as I moved on, I realized that I liked the trombone.
       Mahoy - Music gives me a sense of accomplishment, an emotional outlet and abounding joy every time I pick up my instrument.
       Oldberg - My family has a strong background in brass instruments (uncle played French horn).
       Simpson - I knew that was the instrument I wanted to play, and even today, every time I sit down to play my clarinet, I still love the way it sounds and its smooth and beautiful tone.
       Close - Because I knew it was a rare instrument and could take me farther than any other instrument.
       Brewer - The violin isn't a dead or dying instrument, so it's still used in orchestras. Otherwise, I would gladly focus on the viola damore.
       What are your career goals and/or your goals with music?
       Ruano - I want to be an ornithologist and study birds. Music, however, will be a lifetime passion. I will always play my flute, even if not as a career.
       Wolf - double major in physics and bass trombone performance (at college); acoustical engineering; perform in a big-city symphony (Chicago, etc.).
       Mahoy - I hope to play professionally, ideally as a recording artist or symphony member, but more likely as a free-lancer. I plan on going to college (undecided) for music performance, with some sort of double major.
       Oldberg - I would love to play for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but for sure at least keep playing, to expand my musical horizons.
       Close - I would love to be a music teacher. I have a passion and a love for music and I would love to be able to teach that passion to everyone.
       Simpson - I would like to teach high school band as well as travel to other countries to teach music.
       Brewer - My biggest goal is to become a conductor of a world-renowned orchestra. I'd also like to teach beginning-level string musicians and viola damore, in hopes that it will come back in popularity.

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