Every year, Wa-Hi students in band, choir and orchestra prepare to perform a solo or group piece for the regional Solo and Ensemble competition. After performing their piece, the students are judged and given a number out of four, one being the best. The students then have an opportunity to discuss with their judges about how they can improve during a five to ten minute clinic. The top soloist and ensemble of every category advance to the state competition.
Regionals for band and orchestra students took place Feb. 6. Junior Hannah Cabasco qualified for state with her clarinet solo and in a clarinet duet with freshman Keeli McKern. Freshman Peter Hoffman qualified for state with his viola solo. Sophomore Bryson Jacob and junior Lavinia Tang qualified for the state Solo and Ensemble competition with their violin duet.
Cabasco and McKern performed the Movement I of Krommer’s Concerto for Two Clarinets, op. 91 for their clarinet duet. Cabasco and McKern worked together on their duet for six months. “It feels really great to see all of our hard work pay off,” Cabasco said. She has been playing clarinet for six years.
McKern has been playing for four years. “I’m really excited to compete at state,” McKern said. Cabasco and McKern admitted that they couldn’t have done it alone. “We’d like to thank Mr. Garcia for his time and commitment to help us. We could have played, but we couldn’t have won without him.”
Cabasco also qualified for state with a clarinet solo. Cabasco played Clarinet Concerto 2, Movement III by Weber. “My private teacher picked the piece for me, but I love how dramatic it is,” Cabasco said. “My nickname for it is ‘The Average Day in the Life of a Toddler’ because one second it is really loud and angry, and the next it’s quiet and sensitive.”
Cabasco had been working on this piece since September. “I think Solo and Ensemble definitely helped me improve because of all the hard work and practice I put into learning my piece, and having to cope with nerves pre-performance,” Cabasco said. Cabasco is looking forward to listening to other talented musicians. “I also can’t wait to get a shirt because they’re awesome.”
Hoffman performed Suite No. 1 by Bach for his viola solo. “I chose my piece because of the challenge it gave me,” Hoffman said. Hoffman had been practicing his piece for about three months and has been playing the viola for four years. “I am looking forward to performing at state and watching other performances.”
Jacob and Tang performed Vivaldi Concerto D Minor for two violins for their violin duet. “This piece blends our tones really well because they are contrasting,” Tang said. They have worked together on this piece for two months.
Both Jacob and Tang felt very comfortable and confident when they performed for the judges. “I am excited to polish up the piece when we perform it again,” Jacob said.
Jacob has been playing the violin for six years and Tang has been playing for seven years. “Solo and Ensemble has been a great learning experience and I feel like we have really improved as musicians,” Tang said.
Regionals for the choir Solo and Ensemble took place March 5. Seniors Romey Drabek, Brisa Reyes and Derek Swanson all qualified for state Solo and Ensemble with their solos.
Reyes sang “But the Lord is Mindful of His Own” by Felix Mendelssohn. “I was in between three different songs,” Reyes said. “But I could show more passion in this song.” Reyes practiced her song for about three months. “ I have never done a solo before, so this was a very new experience,” Reyes said. Reyes learned a lot through the Solo and Ensemble competition. “The most important thing I learned is that you are your own worst critic,” Reyes said.
Swanson performed “Wayfaring Stranger,” arranged by John Jacob Niles, for the regionals Solo and Ensemble Competition. “My voice instructor suggested it,” Swanson said. “And it fits my vocal range well.” Swanson had been working on his song for two months. “I am very devoted,” Swanson said. There are many things to look forward to in the state competition. “I am looking forward to hanging out with [Drabek and Reyes],” Swanson said.
Drabek sang “Nuit D’etoiles” by Claude Debussy for her solo. “My voice teacher said this would be a good song for me,” Drabek said. Drabek also chose her song because it was in French. “I have been taking French for two years, so I wanted to sing a song in French,” Drabek said. “Also, Debussy is my favorite composer.” Romey had been practicing her song since December. “I have never done a solo at a state competition before, so I am excited.”