Special to the World Journal by Jay Smith
WALSENBURG and COLO. SPRINGS- When someone really influences you and you wish to recognize it, one of the things you can do is get on FaceBook. There is a group there paying tribute to a phenomenal man. A band director. You say, “A what?” For those of you who were in band during high school, you understand. At least I hope you do.
The FaceBook page is for Frank Montera. Or as he was known in high school, Mr. Montera, and to many of us, “The Big M.” A group of former Palmer High School students of the well known and respected band director Frank Montera, Jr. are coming together at an informal reunion this summer on July 23 and 24. A formal reunion is being planned for the summer of 2011, mainly to give out of town band alumni time to plan and save.
Montera came to Palmer High School in the fall of 1972, where he turned the band into one of the best bands in the state.
He started a stage/jazz band and added flag girls to the halftime shows. The band started marching down the track into the football stadium for football games, and he entered the band into marching competitions. After being there 10 years as band director, he went on to the district administration for another 15 years.
This man had quite a reputation prior to his arrival at Palmer High School. He came to us from Walsenburg, CO. The high school band he directed there was considered by many to be the best "B" band in the state. Under Montera’s direction, the Walsenburg High School band was given the honor of performing at two Denver Bronco halftimes shows.
His actions have earned him honors over the years with his induction into the Hall of Fame with the Colorado High School Activities Association, the Colorado Music Educators Association and the Colorado Bandmasters Association.
The initial research shows that in recent memory /since 1976, he is the only person to have this honor!
The group is asking any who remember Mr Montera to leave a remark on our website: http://eraofmontera.com. Check out the Facebook page too, Frank Montera Era Palmer Band And Friends
Contact can also be made with organizer Chris Kjeldsen at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Era Montera, P.O. 25943, Colorado Springs, CO 80936.