Greeley students make All-State Jazz Band, Orchestra | MyWindsorNow.com

Greeley students make All-State Jazz Band, Orchestra

Kelly Ragan
kragan@greeleytribune.com

Amaya Arevalo is still kind of afraid of jazz, even though she's the first Greeley Central High School student to make the All-State Jazz Band in nearly 15 years. She's both excited and terrified by the freedom of the genre.

Arevalo, a senior, started piano lessons when she was 4 years old. She's loved music ever since. She took on guitar, trumpet, violin and voice and then taught herself ukulele and the accordion. She started really getting into jazz about two years ago when her teachers encouraged her to try it out.

Jazz is rooted in improvisation and a musician's ability to interpret the music, even in an ensemble. She finds that freedom thrilling, but it's also what scares her. Instead of trying to sound as much like the original composer as possible, you're supposed to sound like yourself, she said.

"You're not restricted to the page," Arevalo said. "You can be yourself."

She'll head to the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs Jan. 28 with the all-state jazz band. There, she'll wait for her call as the piano alternate.

Doug Farr, band director at Greeley Central High School, said Arevalo's achievement says a lot about her. She's not just talented. She works hard. She studies privately on jazz piano and saxophone and works with a retired University of Northern Colorado professor, he said.

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"She comes in and practices her heart out everyday," Farr said.

Arevalo practices regularly, but it's not just to get better. It's another way to worship God, she said.

"Music gives me expression," she said. "It means so much more if it's for Him than if it's for me."

Arevalo hopes to get into the University of Northern Colorado's vaulted music program. She wants to be a worship leader or a worship pastor someday.

"I was so overjoyed when we got the results," Farr said. "When someone with that level of talent comes through your program, you just hope you don't screw it up for them."

Annette Miller, a senior at Greeley West High School, made it into the All-State Orchestra as a first chair violin. Miller auditioned last year and made second chair. When she got the call from Tom Nugent, Greeley West's band director, she was excited.

It's not easy to do: Before Miller made second chair, it had been nearly a decade since a student from Greeley West made All-State Orchestra.

"I like expressing myself through music," Miller said. "It's a language everyone can understand. It doesn't have boundaries."

Nugent said he wasn't surprised at the news, but he's glad others recognized Miller's talent.

"Seeing that kind of improvement even when you're in that elite group is impressive," Nugent said.

Miller's been playing since she was 9..

She saw someone playing violin in a kid's movie. She decided then that she liked the instrument and wanted to play. Her family isn't very musical, but they surprised her with a violin for her birthday when she wanted to try it out. She's been playing ever since. Usually she practices for about an hour each day.

Miller also hopes to go to UNC to study music education. She's given some private lessons before and she loved it. She knows how much her teachers have inspired her as well.

"I want to share music with kids," Miller said. "If that's a way they can express themselves, I want to help them find that."

Many other musicians in Greeley-Evans District 6 received all-state honors and will perform in Colorado Springs next weekend. Here’s a list of the musicians.

Details of the performances:

All-State Choir

» Katie Gorsline, Greeley West High School

» Cassie Bradshaw, Greeley West High School

» Tyler Maas, Greeley West High School

» Jaydn Bowen, Greeley Central High School

» Jeremy Hundley, Greeley Central High School

» Loren Johnston, Greeley Central High School

» Madison Romanowski, Greeley Central High School

» Madelyn Wampler, Greeley Central High School

» Jesse Allen, Frontier Academy

» John Palmer, Frontier Academy

» Hunter Phipps, Frontier Academy

» Scott VanBeber, University Schools

» Emily Coleman, University Schools

All-State Jazz Band

» Amaya Arevalo, Greeley Central High School

All-State Orchestra

» Annette Miller, Greeley West High School

All State Concert Band

» Victorial Vindiola, University Schools

» Allison Palmer, Frontier Academy

» Quinton Royle-Grimes, Frontier Academy

» Katie Bridgman (first alternate), Frontier Academy

All-State Symphonic Band

» Kim Martin, Frontier Academy

To see the All-State Jazz Band perform, head to the Broadmoor Jan. 28. For more information, go to https://coloradobandmasters.org/all-state-jazz-band/.

To see the All-State Orchestra perform, head to Colorado State University Feb. 9,10 and 11. For more information, go to http://www.coloradoallstateorchestra.org/2017-event-details.

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