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Mesa to participate in first ever middle school honor ensemble concert

he Douglas County School District has some promising young musicians at the middle school level. In February those students will be celebrated during the first-ever DCSD Honor Ensemble concert.

“I think they’re going to get to see some of the most outstanding middle school musicians in our District, performing some difficult music,” said Mesa Middle School Band and Orchestra Director Adam VanAlphen who is helping to coordinate the special event on February 6. “I think they are going to be in for a real musical treat.”

DCSD Middle School Honor Strings and Honor Band Concert
When: Saturday, February 6, 2016
Where: Rock Canyon High School Auditorium, 5810 McArthur Ranch Road in Littleton
Band Concert: 5 p.m.
Orchestra Concert: 7 p.m.
DCSD Middle School Honor Ensemble Website

A total of 57 students have been selected for the Concert Band and 41 students for the String Orchestra. Both groups will perform in the Rock Canyon High School auditorium on February 6. 

VanAlphen says he and his colleagues at the other middle schools had discussed pulling together an ensemble concert for years, but this year they were determined to make it a reality.

“We felt that this was something that the District was lacking and it is an opportunity for students that we weren’t providing,” VanAlphen said. “We felt that it was a great time to do it and something that the students would enjoy.”

More than 160 students from the nine middle schools, Renaissance Magnet School and a handful of charter schools auditioned for the honor.

“I tried to get as many of my band and orchestra students to try out, as possible, mostly because, as I told them, overall it is a good experience to audition – to  practice and prepare something and to be in a situation where you’re a bit nervous and you have to do your best,” VanAlphen explained.

He says that narrowing the group of students was not an easy feat.

“It was a lot of auditions to go through in a short period of time, so we all pitched in,” VanAlphen said. “It was a pretty crazy four days. I was doing them during my planning time at work, at home for a few hours each night. We were trying to get these done as soon as possible.”

Now the directors only have three rehearsals to pull all of the musicians together.

“We are relieved that the bulk of the ground work and the auditions are done, so we can focus on the making of the music, which is really the point of what we’re doing,” VanAlphen said.


Mesa participants are:

Rivers Cagle 8th Grade Percussion

Carlee Castillo 8th Grade Alto saxophone

Aspyn Cavanaugh  8th Grade  Clarinet

Lilly DeJong 7th Grade Trumpet

Anna Moser 8th Grade Tenor/Bari saxophone

Ailey Pittman 7th Grade Clarinet

Alexandra Sbarra 8th Grade Percussion

Veronica Tapp 7th Grade Clarinet

Katya Walhof 8th GradeFrench Horn


January 1, 2016 | By jsheets | Category: Mesa Middle School

District News

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DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

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Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.