Playing to their strengths

Josephine Taitano, Staff Writer

Out of 12 students that participated in this year’s Solo and Ensemble contest, all 12 earned a Division 1 rating, and 11 of the 12 students will advance to the state level contest.

“The contest requires a lot of work and confidence,” junior Clarissa Maldonado said. “We had a lot of help from the band directors, and at times we had to work individually on things.”

This year’s Solo and Ensemble contest was much earlier than usual.

“The dates are set by the UIL Region Chairman. The way they made to where smaller schools hold their contest first, and it stretches out so that 5A and 6A schools go last,” band director Jeff Miller said. “That’s why this contest happened so early.”

Students involved began practicing their pieces as early as last year. Students who have an Applied Music period were able to practice every day at school.

“My ensemble practiced every day in second period Applied Music,” senior Krista Davis said.

Before students can prepare for the contest, they have to select a piece listed on the Prescribed Music List. Each piece is classed based on difficulty, with a class 1 rating denoting the most advanced pieces. Only students performing memorized class 1 pieces can advance to the state level. The participant’s performance is given a rating, called the division rating, on their playing ability, with a 1 being the best.

“Everyone from our school is doing a class 1 piece of music,” Mr. Miller said. “If they get a division 1 rating, they go to state.”

The Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest, the statewide level of competition, will be held in the greater Austin area at a site to be determined on June 1-3.

“It feels good to do something extracurricular,” Davis said. “I’m excited to go to state in an activity I enjoy.”