Alden Hoag was pacing backstage.
The senior at Windsor High School was set to perform in a little more than an hour at the 67th annual Stars of Tomorrow concert, and his week had already been a busy one.
Hoag, a percussionist who had been practicing a marimba solo for three months, said he felt a few butterflies in his stomach Saturday afternoon at the show’s dress rehearsal. That same day, he had an audition for the music program at the University of Northern Colorado. A few days before his audition at UNC, he auditioned for the music program at Colorado State University .
A few of Hoag’s close friends were in the audience at the Union Colony Civic Center, 701 10th Ave. in Greeley, to see him perform “The Eruption of Mount Sakurajima” by Jessica Muniz , even though most of them had already seen and heard him practicing the song at the high school, he said.
Hoag’s mother was in the audience, as well, but his father was markedly absent — he’s in Afghanistan, repairing helicopters.
The 18-year-old said he wants to attend either UNC or CSU for music education or music performance. He said he may specialize in jazz in college, but that being a music performance major would require him to play many types of music.
The high school senior was one of 22 regional students who performed at the show Saturday evening in front of an audience of about 70. The students — who range from third-graders to high-schoolers, like Hoag, who will soon graduate — compete in age divisions.
Talents included singing, choreographed dancing, piano performances, Hoag’s marimba performance and a jazz quintet.
In the end, Hoag’s nerves weren’t warranted, as he was named the winner of the John A. Williamson Rising Star Award, given to an outstanding performer who is not a division winner.
At the show’s conclusion, Ruoyu Wang, an exchange student from China, who is attending high school at Dayspring, was named the winner of the high school division, an honor that awards him an entry in the Rocky Mountain District Stars of Tomorrow Show on April 28 in Loveland.