State Solo and Ensemble

Ben Penner, Writer

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Solo and Ensemble is a fun competition where kids from many different schools can show off their musical skills, but unfortunately, there are some limitations to these performances. Each student from band or choir gets a chance to perform in Regional Solo and Ensemble. If you get Superior, then you move on to the state performance. Band students can perform a solo, up to a quintet, choir students can perform a solo or up to have up to sixteen other students in a small group, then there is a large group performance with more than sixteen students. The regional performances are held at MSUM in Moorhead, while the state performances are held at MState in Fergus Falls. Besides Barnesville, there was approximately fifteen schools that attended the competition.

Band and choir from Barnesville both had a different number of groups entering the state competition. Mr. Stalboerger, Barnesville’s Band Director, said how many entries he had from band, “We had about twelve entries that qualified to go to State Solo and Ensemble but only nine entries were able to attend.” There are some groups who aren’t able to go because of ineligibility, or they had something else come up that interferes with the performance, but each group tries their best to make sure that they are able to attend. Seven groups got superiors, and the other two got excellents.

Mrs. Gylland, Barnesville’s Choir Director, said that they had sixteen groups qualified to perform at state.  In total they received twelve superiors and two excellents. Each group of students has to practice quite a bit before each performance, plus they have to balance practicing for other concerts, especially in the spring when there is a lot of other activities going on.

Each group of choir students can choose between a few songs that they like the best, but they can’t be popular songs; they have to be classical songs, or have a classical arrangement. Gylland comments on this and says, “You cannot choose pop songs unless your in a show choir. There aren’t rules, per se, but the songs have to be arranged in a certain style that is not pop or popular.” All of the small groups can only perform one song, and the large groups, like Change of Pace, can perform up to two songs. Band students can play one song each, and they can perform in a maximum of five ensembles. They can be in multiple ones as well. For example, one student could play a percussion solo, then can play and be musical accompaniment on drums for another ensemble. Sophomore Mattea Spaeth also mentions what kind of songs that they are not allowed to perform, “We cannot perform contemporary new songs unless you are labeled as a Jazz group like Change of Pace.”

In case anyone is wondering, for choir, it will cost any small groups about $20 a piece, and the large groups to pay $30 a piece. But for band, the cost is already set in the budget, so it doesn’t cost them anything. Other than the cost of it, everyone who attends these competitions loves something about it. Stalboerger mentions his favorite part of the competition, “Watching the students excel at what they do! It is awesome to see them at their best.” Gylland says that when kids get good scores and and good comments from the judges. She also says that it’s nice to hear another teacher reinforce what she has been teaching. Senior Beth Gerner also mentions what her favorite part of the competition is, “Walking out of a performance knowing that you killed it and the judge only has positive comments.” Spaeth also mentions her favorite part of the competition, “The thrill of it all, and being able to sing all day.”

These competitions are really fun, but are stressful at times for these students. They have a lot of fun participating and watching their friends perform songs that they chose. Any student who loves music, and loves to perform, these competitions would be the perfect opportunity to show off your musical skills.

 

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