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By Tim Bristow and Heidi Tanner
Special to The PREVIEW
The second annual Band O’ Rama is approaching, Saturday March 23, at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium. This concert will feature four ensembles from the middle school and high school bands in addition to the Pagosa Springs Community Band.
One of the goals of the community band is to mentor and encourage student musicians in Pagosa Springs and this concert is one way we work towards meeting that goal. Secondly, the community band has invited select local students to play with our group, so you will see a few students amongst our ranks.
Malinda Fultz, new music director at the Pagosa Springs Middle School is a Pagosa native and a member of the Pagosa Springs Community Band, playing both alto and soprano sax. Malinda is a recent graduate of Fort Lewis College. All of us who have worked with her and gotten to know her are very impressed with her talent, as well as her dedication to the development of her students’ abilities.
In Malinda’s own words, “Just a year ago I never even thought that I would have such an opportunity to inspire young musicians as I do now. I think that there is so much potential with these young musicians that I feel very lucky to get to help guide them in the right direction. In the next few years I really hope to see the bands at the middle school grow, both in size and ability. I see it as my responsibility to encourage the highest level of musicianship possible at any level.”
In this concert, the middle school’s sixth- and eighth-grade bands will be performing under Fultz’ direction.
Dan Burch is the director of the Pagosa Springs High School music department. Dan also plays trombone and is a guest conductor with the Pagosa Springs Community Band.
This year’s Band O’ Rama will feature the high school’s concert band and jazz band. Dan is currently in his sixth year of heading up the high school’s music program here in Pagosa Springs. The best indication of the success of Dan’s efforts is that all of the high school music ensembles, both instrumental and choral, continue to increase in size and quality.
He keeps his students busy with multiple performances through the year and arranges for qualifying students to attend student music festivals in Durango, Gunnison, and Denver. He takes the bands on a three-day trip to Denver each May, where they compete at an event called Music in the Parks. Recently, the jazz band, made up of many young players, attended a day-long Jazz Festival at Fort Lewis College, where they placed very well in the competition.
In discussing music programs in our schools, we would be remiss if we did not recognize Lisa Hartley’s work at the elementary school. Lisa introduces music to our Pagosa students in the early years of their education and paves the way for student’s to progress to playing instruments which they start at the middle school level. Lisa, a clarinetist, is also a member of the community band.
These three music educators — Lisa Hartley, Malinda Fultz, and Dan Burch — are working together closely to put together a coordinated music program that enables Pagosa students to progress throughout the entirety of their school years.
As Dan says, “The future for our music program looks very promising.” Dan also notes, “I have enjoyed the incredible community support for the programs at our school and thoroughly enjoy working with the students in our schools.”
Pagosa Springs is fortunate to have these three talented and dedicated music educators.
We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Band O’ Rama to hear our student bands. Don’t forget the Pagosa Springs Community Band is proud to feature Dan Burch’s wife, Venita Burch, playing George Gershwin’s, “Rhapsody in Blue” with Dan guest conducting. There is no admission fee for Band O’ Rama, which will be on Saturday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Hope to see you there!