Instrumental Music Begins the Year on a High Note

The Farmer Pride Band performing during half time at a football game. Courtesy of

Rachel Vigil, Editor-in-Chief

Music continues to flow out from Wheat Ridge’s instrumental music this new school year.

The department is composed of six unique groups: the wind symphony, a jazz ensemble, two orchestras (advanced and regular), the symphonic band, and the Farmer Pride band. Each section holds their own performances and practices. Charles Craig teaches all of the classes for the department.

The Farmer Pride band is the only one of the sections that does not have a class in periods one through seven. Instead, they practice after school as an eighth hour class. The Farmer Pride band is also unique in the respect that it exists to play at school events such as football games and assemblies.

To get into advanced orchestra, students must audition, while regular orchestra accepts students with lower skill levels who are beginners.

Jazz ensemble is a class for students who would like to take a second instrumental music class and study jazz.

All of the instrumental music groups regularly perform for events both in and out of the school. On Sept. 23, the wind symphony put on a concert with the class of 1967, who are currently still celebrating their 50 year reunion. Although it was for the class of 1967’s reunion, alumni from a large spread of years took part in the concert, with the oldest being an alumnus from the class of 1952.

In the coming month, the band will have its fall concert will take place on Oct. 23, and the jazz ensemble will be hosting students from Wheat Ridge’s sister school Vincent-Lübeck- Gymnasiums from Stade, Germany. The ensemble will be playing a concert with the German students on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

The instrumental music department has continued to grow this year, and it currently has about 180 students participating in it. Craig is, as a result, one of the teachers with the most students in the school. When asked if he would appreciate another teacher in the department, Craig said, “It would be nice if it could change since right now it’s tough to keep up on everything.” However, with the current budget cuts faced by the district as the result of 3A and 3B not passing almost a year ago, as well as last year’s lower enrollment numbers, the department will likely not gain a teacher for the foreseeable future.

Going forward, Craig would like to change the misinformation that is pervasive in the school about his department. “There’s still a lot of people who say everything that happens [here] is ‘the band.’ Like somehow we’re all just one big group who just sit here all day long with nothing to do.” As Craig attempts to quiet the misinformation, instrumental music continues to operate in full swing at Wheat Ridge High School.