Fort Collins High School Symphony To Perform at National Music Festival, Music for All

Fort Collins High School students rehearsing in sectionals (Photo by Fort Collins High School Symphony)

Melissa Martine | Fort Collins High School Proud Mom

Often, teens get a bad rap. Even though their brain is not developed and they don’t always make the right choices, there is a group of teens that should be celebrated and shared with our community. Fort Collins High School Symphony has 50 hard-working students. They prepare for concerts that happen about every 6 weeks during class and on their own practice time.

As a parent, I get serenaded with all kinds of classical music as my son, Isaiah, practices his viola at home. I hear the grunts of dissatisfaction at his tone or not being able to keep up with the speed of the notes, and see him persevere, working toward something bigger. Do we share this story about teenagers enough?

Fort Collins High School students rehearsing in sectionals (Photo by Fort Collins High School Symphony)

On the first day of freshman year in the symphony class, Isaiah was beyond thrilled. He said the director gave them four songs and said, “Let’s make some music.” This was so unlike any other class he’d attended.

And what did these teens do? Exactly what their director asked them to do, they started learning on the first day of school. It’s experiences like this, in addition to having guest clinicians work with sections on a regular basis, opportunities to play challenging music with other orchestras, attending festivals where the group is rated, attending and practicing for private lessons and additional chamber groups, and playing many concerts a year is what has made this symphony stand out among the rest.

Fort Collins High School is a Colorado public high school with a dynamic and award-winning orchestral program. They are recognized in our state as one of the top-performing ensembles, often a regional leader. They are consistently invited to perform at the most prestigious events in the state, nation, and abroad. 


Music for All, a national music festival that takes place in Indianapolis, IN, chooses seven high school orchestras a year from an audition to perform and take part in clinics to improve their skills each year. The Symphony at Fort Collins High School is one of those seven orchestras for a second time in their history. They head to Indianapolis March 21-23 to perform at The Center for Performing Arts in the Palladium, a 1,500-seat concert hall.

The Music for All National Festival is considered the nation’s premier non-competitive festival for scholastic instrumental ensembles. Student musicians perform at top venues, receive evaluation and feedback from a panel of renowned conductors and clinicians, and participate in educational workshops.  In 2019, FCHS auditioned and won an invitation, only to arrive in 2020 for a cancellation due to Covid.

Fort Collins High School Symphony members (Photo by Fort Collins High School Symphony)

Celebrating the hard work, commitment, and honoring the opportunity for these students to be able to play at the Prestigious Palladium in Indiana is the right thing to do. Our community will enjoy hearing from and about these high school students. I think they will be inspired when they hear these kids make music together. It will give them hope for the future, and it may make them forget the annoying teenager who drove too fast or yelled obscenities out their car window.

The parents of the orchestral members attending the Music for All National Festival are conducting a fundraising campaign so all families will benefit from a reduced cost for attendance. This event costs $1,879 for each of the forty-four students. 

Visit the Go Fund Me Page to help these students go on their trip.

For more information, visit or email John G Hermanson, Director of Orchestras at Fort Collins High School ([email protected]).

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