WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley South High School’s band and choir recently competed at the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) Solo and Ensemble competition, and raked in several superior ratings.
The students traveled to Blanchester Middle School an hour and a half away to compete in the District 13 competition on Saturday, Feb. 11. According to Director of Bands and Choirs Garrett Smith during the event, “Students get to show what they’ve been working on in a competitive atmosphere.”
Solo and Ensemble competition gives students the chance to compete by themselves or in small groups. The largest those groups can be is six or seven students.
“It is less about direct competition with students from other schools and more about trying to achieve a high score on your own and by your own merit,” Smith said.
The students competed with pieces of music they had prepared by themselves or in their small groups. They were given the opportunity to practice a few days each week.
“I think it’s wonderful to give them a chance to have a little bit more student leadership in terms of they are in control and in charge of their rehearsal,” Smith said. “I will go around on those days — we call them chamber days — and have them break out into their small groups or in their solos. I’ll go around and monitor that they’re staying on track, but for the most part all the work they put in on it, and everything they do, is on their own merit and by their own work ethic.”
The choice of whether to perform in a small group or by themselves is left to the students. While it is a requirement of the band and choir program to perform in Solo and Ensemble Contest, students can choose their own groups or elect to not perform in a group. According to Smith, most students chose to perform in an ensemble.
Students do have the opportunity to perform in multiple events.
“For example, we had one student who took a snare drum solo, a marimba solo, and performed in a percussion ensemble with four other percussionists,” Smith said.
While all the students did a great job at competition, special recognition was given to those students who earned a superior rating. Those included: Presley Holthaus, Renee Proctor, Shayne Buttery, Sammy Shortes, Connor Bradley, Jacob Jackson, and Daniel Page. Buttery actually earned two superior ratings.
“We were quite successful,” Smith said. “The rating scale is on a spectrum of one to five; one being superior, two excellent, three good, I don’t remember the terminology for four and five, but I think five is poor. We obviously try to avoid that at all cost and I can’t remember hearing the last time any of the students here got a five.
“After all was said and done, I think they were all really happy with how they did for the most part. Especially the ones who got superiors. In the State of Ohio, because we do not have a statewide solo and ensemble contest competition, getting a superior rating at your district contest is the best you can do. The kids who got superiors were definitely excited about that.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH