Mancos band wins two first-place titles

Mancos students posed before their performance in Salt Lake City early in May. The students brought home two first-place trophies from the competition. Enlargephoto

Courtesy/The Mancos Times

Mancos students posed before their performance in Salt Lake City early in May. The students brought home two first-place trophies from the competition.

The Mancos school concert band brought home two first-place trophies from a competition in Salt Lake City early in May.

The band competed in the middle school and junior high category at the festival, which drew 12 1A and 2A schools.

Andrew Saletta, the band director, joined the staff in January 2013

There were 27 students in grades 6 through 9 who went on the trip. About 16 of those kids had never touched an instrument before the fall semester, Saletta said.

"I think that it's been phenomenal year of growth for most of those students," he said.

About half the band is composed of sixth-graders, and they competed in the junior high category against groups of students mostly composed of seventh- through ninth-graders.

The competition was hosted by Music in Parks, which offers a platform for bands from smaller schools, Saletta said.

"It was amazing because we got to watch other bands play," said MacKenzie Benitez, a flute and alto saxophone player.

For some students, it was also their first opportunity to see professional orchestra play.

In the fall, Saletta is looking forward to growing the program and watching his students grow musically.

The Mancos school band smiles with two first-place trophies that the students brought back from a competition in Salt Lake City. Enlargephoto

Mary Shinn/The Mancos Times

The Mancos school band smiles with two first-place trophies that the students brought back from a competition in Salt Lake City.