BURLINGTON, Colo. — The Burlington High School marching band has been performing in the National Western Stock Show kick-off parade in downtown Denver for more than 25 years— a tradition the group will continue this year.
The band of 130 members is made up of students from their middle and high schools and will be the only marching band participating in this year’s event. It’s an honor the school’s music director Andrew Salvador is proud of.
“It’s neat that we can go out there and represent eastern Colorado and Burlington giving back to the community,” Salvador said. “Because the community has supported us, and we want to represent them well and I want them to have an experience of being in the ‘big city’.”
The group has been rehearsing for their big day downtown and will be playing songs like the theme song from "Magnificent 7" and "Should have been a Cowboy." Salvador said since most of his students grew up in a small town, the experience gives his students memories they won’t forget.
“The kids get to see a Texas longhorn,” Salvador said. “About 10 years ago, we had one run right through the band…he slipped and got a little freaked out…you never saw 120 kids move so fast in all your life.”
Salvador said the band program started 31 years ago with six members and now the high school membership is up to 50, or about a quarter of the school. They now have an award-winning drumline that was a finalist this past year competing in the Rocky Mountain Percussion Association (RMPA) circuit. He wants his students to enjoy the experience of representing small towns throughout the state.
“I want them to know that ‘Yes, we can perform in the city and perform very well and represent the community,” Salvador said.
Maray Campuzano is a senior saxophone player in the marching band. She said it’s their way of connecting small towns to the Front Range.
“We’ll go have fun in the city because we don’t usually get to go out there much,” Campuzano said. “It’s something that we really connect with because since we’re from a rural town, we know that it’s not just about the livestock but it’s also about the livelihood of the people.”
Campuzano has marched in the parade almost every year since she was in 7th grade. For the past two years, the Stock Show parade was canceled due to weather and the pandemic. She said this year’s parade holds a special meaning.
“I haven’t known anything but a small town my entire life,” Campuzano said. “I’ve always come to Burlington (schools), but I’ve lived in even smaller towns and on a farm and so being able to represent that is really special to me.”
It’s an experience junior percussionist Jordan Buriciaga said he will never forget.
“It’s an awesome experience seeing all the people on the sides of downtown Denver and just playing is what I love doing,” Buriciaga said. “My first year going to Stock Show because it was a new experience and just like walking through downtown…I had never done that so just walking my 7th-grade year through downtown Denver.”
These marching members hope the experience will bring awareness to the parade-goers in LoDo of the community spirit they’ll carry with them from 150 miles east of downtown.
“I’m glad I get to be part of the Burlington High School band,” Campuzano said. “I’m glad I get to do all these other extracurriculars here because we have a pretty great school.”
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