Updated 2/14/17, 8:23 p.m.
Junior Gian Neri won best in his instrument, bass clarinet, in the Solo & Ensemble Contest. He has advanced to the state level in the Solo & Ensemble Contest.
The state contest will take place in April 2017 in Ellensburg, Wash.
After weeks of preparation, every student in the MTHS concert bands showcased a solo or ensemble on Thursday, Feb. 2 and Friday, Feb. 3 in the band and orchestra rooms. They performed to gear up for the SnoKing Music Educator’s Conference Annual Solo & Ensemble Contest the following day.
The MTHS Music Boosters hosted the two nights as a Solo & Ensemble Tea, creating a relaxed atmosphere for people to enjoy refreshments and performances. To many students, this was a new experience to them as it was an opportunity to develop confidence in performing independently in front of live audiences and exploring new genres.
Friday night brought on a range of festivities as, simultaneously, a women’s basketball game took place in the gym, and Cedar Way Elementary performed Willy Wonka Junior the musical in the theater.
Aside from practicing for the contest, students seized the chance to improve upon their stage presence, challenge themselves and listen to each other’s performances.
Freshman Sage Biaggne joked that he only participated per band teacher Darin Faul’s request. Nonetheless, he performed a classical dance song that’s different from what he usually plays and “just the right amount of challenging,” he said.
“Over the year we were working on our solos to kind of improve, not just as a band and not to hide behind other people playing, but to kind of improve on our own and perform that to show our improvement,” Biaggne said. “It’s a good opportunity to grow our skill as individuals because we do it as a band everyday.”
From preparing this solo, Biaggne improved on his sound quality, air usage, expanding upon new rhythms and playing more sophisticated notes and keys. He hopes to take what he’s learned and apply it to his playing for the last few months of the school year.
“This [solo and ensemble] unit… has really improved a lot of people and how they play on their instrument,” he said. “[Many students] have been trying to improve on themselves and get themselves up to the level they should be.”
Sophomore Cassidy Sadler chose a piece that was “short and looked easy” to instead emphasize working on her nervousness on stage.
“It was a good opportunity to go outside your comfort zone and to perform in front of people and to learn and make mistakes on what you can and can’t do to improve upon yourself,” Sadler said.
But Sadler confessed she is still in her comfort zone.
“I try to relax myself, thinking they’re not here to judge me, they’re here to help me and they’re just here for my support,” Sadler said. “[I need to] focus on my piece and letting it flow through me instead of being a nervous wreck.”
The MTHS concert bands attended the Solo & Ensemble Contest along with students from other schools on Saturday Feb. 4. They are currently pending results on their performances.