Over 100 musicians travelled from RBHS to Mexico High School to perform for the district solo and ensemble festival on Saturday. For this festival, musicians learned and rehearsed either solo or ensemble pieces outside of school and prepared to perform before a judge, who would give them a rating. Junior Sarah Freyermuth, who has participated in the festival for the last three years, performed a vocal solo, vocal ensemble and a piano solo after weeks of practice.
“Choral solos and ensembles are rated on a one to five scale, one being the best,” Freyermuth said. “One is considered superior and two is still considered excellent, so both are really impressive. It takes a one to get to state.”
Similarly for band and orchestra, a one rating is required to continue on to perform at the state festival on May 1. At Saturday’s festival, head band director Steve Mathews said, 33 soloists and ensembles performed, 19 of which earned a “one” rating and will go on to perform at the state solo and ensemble festival. This high success immediately followed the district large ensemble festival, at which both bands received “unanimous one” ratings, he said.
For some students, this year was the first year they were able to participate in the festival. For freshman Stephanie Zhang, this festival differed from the Central Methodist University music festival she participated in during middle school because the district festival determined whether or not a performance could go to the state level.
Zhang, who earned a one on a flute quartet, plans to continue working. Freyermuth also received a one rating on all three groups she performed in.
“In preparation for state I’m going to keep practicing two times a week with my ensemble and I’m going to keep practicing as much as I have been on my solos,” Freyermuth said. “I’ll focus on the comments the judges left me to further improve my pieces.”
By Emily Franke