By Ben Rosenthal | Staff Writer
Solo and Ensemble is a competition that took place on Feb. 22 at Richardson High School in which students prepare a unique musical composition to play for a single judge. Solo and Ensemble helps to improve students’ individual performance skills.
Solo and Ensemble is also known as the Chamber Music Festival. Students prepare a musical composition of their choosing and play for a judge. The festival took place at Richardson High School and lasted most of the day. Each student was given a specific performance time.
After they play, the judge rates the performance on a scale. Each composition is placed on a scale from one to three in which one is the best possible score. After choosing the difficulty of the composition, the performance of the students is rated from three being the lowest to two, one and one-honors. With a one-honors, a student gets a patch that can be placed on his band jacket.
“Over 100 band students from Pearce and over 1,000 students from across the district participated in the Chamber Music Festival,” band director Mr. Josh Blankenship said. “We were very pleased with how the students performed and presented themselves at the festival.”
Some band students had to find time on Feb. 22 in order to fit their performance in with their already busy schedules. Sophomore Simone Levy plays the flute in wind ensemble and had to perform at an early time due to her participation in the Pearce production of Beauty and the Beast. Simone played Airs de Ballet de Ascanio by Camille Saint-Saens. She received a one on her performance.
“The students worked on solos and ensembles completely outside of class with their private teachers, or in some cases with us after school,” band director Mr. Johnson said. “Over 100 of JJ Pearce students received division 1 ratings, with 13 of them receiving Honor awards.”
The responsibility of the band directors was to help the competition run smoother. This included making sure students’ instruments were working properly and making sure everyone was prepared to perform. The work of the band directors allowed people like Simone to get in and out of the festival quickly and without any issues.
Junior Alison Quarles plays oboe and english horn. “It was a lot of fun, and it was very nerve-wracking,” Alison said. Alison was happy she received a score of one on her performance.