Band, choir students to State

Serena Fink, Reporter

After months of preparation and a weekend of performances, both in ensemble and solo, PHS is able to send some of these student musicians from band and choir to State Solo and Ensemble competition.

“It is very exciting. Any time you can get anyone to the state level is quite an achievement. Just the experience of going and hearing all of the other high caliber musicians but also getting to perform and get feedback from three judicators is exciting,” band director Eric Ryan said. “We have a small woodwinds ensemble and both small and large brass ensemble going which is more than any other high school in our region. And we have two percussion soloists and a trombone soloist going as well.”

To succeed at this caliber of performance one must be acclimated to the world of music before high school.

“You build up to it. You don’t just start with the music that you would see in high school. There are hundreds of different techniques,” junior and Norslander member Tanner Chambers said. “There are so many things to concentrate on. It is important to look at your music and practice every single day.”

Being in these music programs has given students the right environment to succeed as well.

“It is nice to spend time with people that have the same interests as you and are really talented but also really enjoy what they are doing and enjoy spending time with music,” senior and Norslander member Amanda Kohler said.

Performing as a group in Solo and Ensemble helps some musicians feel less pressure.

“I wasn’t as nervous as I thought because it was a good group of people and it is less stressful with groups,” junior and trumpet player Rachel Katzberg said. “But before [we performed] I was really hoping we would make it to state and after [we finished] I thought we had a really good chance.”

Preparation continues to be the key for musicians to receive superior for their performances.

“We started learning our piece right after winter break so it was crunching to get it done,” junior and baritone saxophone player Michelle Anderson said. “It starts with individual practice and then we would work as an ensemble about twice a week. It is all about getting used to playing with each other.”

Solo and Ensemble is the responsibility of the students but they tend to carry on the skills they have learned from their private teachers and conductors at school.

“It isn’t something we really work on in class. It is something they can choose to do and work on extra on their own, either here at school during lunch or at someone’s house on the weekends,” Ryan said. “A lot of soloists work with private teachers so they might work on that once a week with them. My job is to facilitate. If the students are good musicians they take the same rehearsal skills that we use in class and apply them to their solos or ensembles when they get together.”

State for Solo Ensemble is April 19-20 and the confidence going into it is unanimous.

“I think each and every one of these kids are incredibly talented and hardworking and I think if they continue to work they will do very well,” choir director George Guenther said. “They are all competitive. Music isn’t competitive by nature but at State there are winners and I think we could be some of the top performing ensembles, both men, women’s and mixed, as well as a top women’s solo.”