I would like to focus this week’s message on congratulating the music students who competed at the State Solo Ensemble at UW-Milwaukee on Saturday, and sharing a couple of highlights. I will admit that my experience this year, with my youngest son participating in the local level of Solo/Ensemble, really helped me grow in appreciation for the commitment and self-discipline that it takes to be successful and qualify for the State event. It is not that I did not appreciate these achievements in the past, but to see firsthand, night after night, the practice that is necessary to be prepared is really impressive and so good for young people. The hard work that is necessary for the students who compete at the State level is something that really deserves our recognition. We want all of our students to experience the excitement and rewards of their hard work paying off in tangible growth because those experiences can literally change them as people and build valuable habits of success for their futures. Solo/Ensemble appears to be a process that has that ability to help students to see the correlation between hard work, commitment, and focused effort in producing growth and high quality results. That growth mindset process is an experience we want all of our students to have multiple times in their educational process each year. Students need to learn and experience that success is not just based on talent. Hard work and teacher feedback, cause growth and improvement. Most people who achieve at high levels probably have some talent, but the highest achievers also invest a tremendous amount of work in their own success. We hope that is one of the primary lessons of the Solo/Ensemble process.
Below are some highlights from the State Solo/Ensemble Competition:
- The band was represented with 8-1st ratings and 3-2nd ratings. The choir members received 6-1st and 8-2nd ratings.
- Sammi Jentsch received an exemplary award for her Eb clarinet solo. This is the highest award that a student can earn. It not only receives a 1st rating, but is put into a pool for a chance to play at the state music teachers convention next October. An exemplary award means that Sammi was one of the best 2 performances that her judge heard all day.
- Jesse Rogers competed in 7 events at state across band and choir. Some schools that participated at State only had 7 events total, and Jesse had 7 events himself!
- Shelby Lutz received a 1st rating playing solos on two different instruments: Flute & Tenor Saxophone. This is a very rare accomplishment. Not many high school students across the state can play at that high of a level on two different instruments.
- All large groups (Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Saxophone Choir) received 1st ratings at state. This involved 35 different students in the band.
- The Guys’ Show Choir received a 1st at the State level, which is a great achievement, considering they choreographed the dance piece all on their own! It should also be noted that this all-male ensemble was the only one of its kind to perform at UW-Milwaukee. The judge noted that he couldn’t help but laugh and admire their “grand finale” kick-line, no matter HOW terrible it looked! Our guys were able to pull off a fantastic musical performance as well as give their audience an unending supply of laughter and smiles throughout the performance. They worked incredibly well as a team this year and their State results are reflective of this!
Congratulations to all of your State Solo/Ensemble participants.