Band students warm up and practice in the debate room. They were able to run their music before they performed.
Band students warm up and practice in the debate room. They were able to run their music before they performed.
Carter Colvin

Band and Choir Students Compete at Solo and Ensemble

On February 8 and 9, band students competed at an annual Solo and Ensemble Contest in Lindale while choir students competed on February 11 in Whitehouse. 87 band students and 13 choir students advanced to state.

“Of everything we do, solo and ensemble has the most impact on the improvement of our students,” head band director Steven Moore. “This event has different levels of literature that can be performed so anyone in the band can participate at the level they are at and improve.”

The contest gives students the opportunity to work on music in a one on one situation or small group to better themselves. Each performance has a judge where the performers can receive anything from a one to a five, with one being the best.

A part of my teaching philosophy is to make the classroom more challenging than what a student might encounter in the real world,” choir director Kerry Baham said. “My job is to lead students down the paths that create possibilities for them and to teach them that being a music professional requires not just talent, but a solid work ethic.”

Students are given the music from a UIL prescribed music list that they will be playing at contest where they can then work on the music with a director before and after school. The choir pieces are typically in English, Italian, German, and French.

“Learning how to present oneself in a somewhat stressful position and still be able to perform is a skill that transfers across all disciplines,” Baham said. “Solo and ensemble gives the student the opportunity to fine tune their presentation, be it in music or a job interview.”

This competition consists of differing levels of literature that are performable. Any student is able to participate at the level they are at and work towards improving themselves.

“I liked solo and ensemble because I feel like we had more of a challenge this year,” sophomore Jade Ross said. “I felt very proud of all of us afterwards because of how well we all did.”

The state competition will be held in Austin soon after the school year comes to an end. Soloists will earn a medal with a first or second division at State, but ensembles are only to medal if they receive a first division.

“The expectation at the state contest is intense,” Moore said. “Each solo and ensemble will have to improve a great deal between the region contest and the state contest. We tell the students that the first division they earned at the region contest will get them a third division at the state contest.”

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