Regional Solo and Ensemble

Cassidy Knoll

Sugarbeet Staff Reporter

Over 100 choir, band and orchestra students travelled to Dodge City last Saturday to compete in the regional solo and ensemble contest. Students and teachers are both proud of what they’ve accomplished in the past four to five months.

“Students began working with their respective music directors to choose appropriate solo music as early as December and worked one on one with their music directors, private teachers, and on their own.” Ms. Baldwin, choir teacher said.  “They practiced before and after school as well as during class time for the last three to four months.  This contest is an opportunity for students to work on their skills as a performer as they play or sing classical music. The day was very well organized and students performed admirably.”

Pieces played have to be classical, so no pop music is not allowed at contest. Their score is based off of a strict rubric that the judges follow.

“It went well. I figured out the basic outline the week before contest,” Brandon Smith, Arts and Comm. Senior said. “I put in an additional hour to structure phrasing and define musicality. I listened to recordings of professional cellists and did my best to immigrate them. The most challenging part of the solo was keeping everything in tune and not losing the tonic key, as the solo was unaccompanied. Aside from that, making sure everything was connected and resonated correctly was also a huge struggle.” Smith played Allemande from suit #1 by JS Bach and received a 1 rating at contest.

After all of their hard work practicing and preparing for solos, choir, band and orchestra students will be traveling to Dodge City again on Wednesday to perform for large group contest. After that, there are 26 band, choir and orchestra soloists that are going on to compete at the State Solo and Ensemble Contest on April 28th in Topeka.

“Most students have been practicing all semester,” Mrs. Miller, orchestra teacher, said. “ Some have been working since last fall. They did the majority of the work on their own with little guidance from me.  They started practicing with the piano accompanist 2 weeks ago. Most students use music that I have in my solo library.  Tia Dunsworth, for example, found a Bass solo on her own that she liked. Students are expected to play these pieces at a high level, which means correct notes, rhythms, dynamics, etc.

I was very proud of all the students who performed.  They worked very hard and were rewarded for their hard work with their great scores!”

Cassidy Knoll is an arts and communication sophomore.  Contact her at

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