High schoolers earn highest music honor

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In his first 10 years of teaching instrumental music at various Colorado high schools, Ken Crombie saw only one of his students selected to an all-state band or orchestra roster.

Crombie can add three more names to that list, now that Steamboat Springs High School sophomores Kenyon Brenner, Leigh Thielen and Renee Stady have received the state's highest honor for band students.

Brenner and Thielen earned spots on the all-state concert band roster after impressing judges during Nov. 30 auditions in Craig. Brenner, one of two students named first-chair alto saxophone, is one of the best high school saxophone players Crombie has ever seen, the first-year Steamboat teacher said Thursday.

Thielen was one of eight students named second-chair clarinet.

More than 800 students from 144 state high schools auditioned for the symphonic and concert bands. One hundred and five students from 44 high schools were named to the all-state concert band roster. The symphonic band is for students who attend the state's larger high schools, and the concert band is reserved for students who attend smaller schools, Crombie said.

Brenner and Thielen will travel to the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley at the end of March to rehearse with fellow all-state band members for an April 2 performance.

Junior Hannah Bowers and sophomore Austin Anderson were named all-state concert band alternates on flute. Ten Sailors auditioned for the all-state concert band, Crombie said.

Stady was named first violin for the all-state string orchestra, which will rehearse and perform Feb. 10 to 12 at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Stady was one of 14 students named first-chair violin. Sixty-one students were named to the all-state string orchestra.

Crombie praised each of the students for earning such high honors.

"These are the best high school musicians in the state," Crombie said. "These are students who typically go above and beyond expectations and are always striving for excellence on their instruments.

"It's basically the highest honor you can strive for as a high schooler."

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