Students prepare for solo and ensemble competition


Danielle Stevens

West’s music department will hold solo and ensemble at West on Apr. 14. This is an example of what a solo might look like.

Danielle Stevens, Managing Editor

On Apr. 14, West’s music department is holding solo and ensemble at West. Students from the band, orchestra, and the choir department are able to participate.

As of 2018, there were 49 entries, all from soloists and ensembles.

“These competitions have been going on for about 70 years,” band director Mark Kretschmer said.

Band directors first ask students if they are interested in participating and if a student shows interest, they pick out a range of music for the student to choose from.

“I decided to do a duet because I didn’t want to play alone,” freshman Gracie Quinn said.

Before the competition, participants choose the solo or ensemble they really want to play, and then practice to finalize before competition comes around.

“I like working towards competitions, it gives me something to do,” senior Sophie Buckley said.

For solos, soloists are required to have an accompanist playing along with them.

“Students should know their solo or their ensemble before they can start practicing with their accompanist,” band director Maggie Oates said. “They will practice two to three times with their accompanist before solo and ensemble takes place.”

At these competitions, students will play in front of a judge. While the student is playing, the judge will fill out a ballot of what they think of the song and some suggestions to improve playing ability.

After a student is done playing, they wait to see what kind of rating they get. Students get rated by divisions. The highest rating a soloist or an ensemble can get is a division 1.

The participants that get a division 1 or a division two will be recognized at the band department’s annual potluck and awards event on May 17.