Band and Choir Competing for their Place
April 12, 2022
On Saturday, March 12th, the Fair Grove High School Band and Choir went to Lebanon High School to compete to qualify for district and state.
For the Band, this particular contest was the MSHSAA District Solo and Small Ensemble Contest. For the choir, it was the district-level Solo and Ensemble Music Festival; the State music festival will take place on April 28 at Mizzou.
For the interested students who are in the classes, they can prepare a solo or small ensemble to compete and perform in front of a judge for a rating. A solo would be by yourself. A small ensemble would be things like woodwind trios, brass quintets, etc. for the band and a small group for the choir.
For both solos and ensembles, students prepare the same. They can choose, or their teacher can choose for them, two solos (pieces) to work on. The two pieces should be contrasting in style. Once two pieces have been chosen for their performance, the students begin working to learn them.
For both band and choir, the final product will be a memorized performance for a judge. The students perform their solos for a judge and receive feedback and a rating.
For the band, this rating is from one to five. One is the best possible, five is the worst. Students who achieve a one qualify to go to State, where they will repeat the process in front of another judge and hope for a gold medal.
For the choir students, they can earn one of five ratings at the district solo and ensemble festivals. They can earn Exemplary, Outstanding, Satisfactory, Developing, and Ineffective. Earning an exemplary rating qualifies the student to continue to the state solo and ensemble festival. At the state level, they can earn either Gold, Silver, or Bronze.
“My favorite part of these days is celebrating success with the students,” shared Audra Harmon, the choir director. “I love celebrating their hard work and seeing their dedication recognized.”
In the band this year, there were two flute solos: Carson Krider (9) and Serenity Davis (12), one clarinet solo: Nicky Hamp (12), one tenor sax solo: Elijah Daugherty (12), one trumpet solo: Easton Beltz (12), and one marimba solo: Brandon Kandlbinder (10).
“It makes me very proud to just have kids participate. It takes a lot of guts to stand in front of a judge, alone, and perform for a rating. That’s a lot of preparation and pressure that you have to mentally face, not to mention the actual music, shared band director Natalie Palomo. “Seeing the participants grow as people and as musicians makes me so proud of them, no matter their final ratings.”