Mustang Solo and Ensemble Finalists Await State Competition

Jori Gelbaugh

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On Saturday, select students from the Portage Central band traveled to the MSBOA District Solo and Ensemble Festival to compete for a chance to advance to the state competition. After months of preparation consisting of hours practicing a piece to perfection, the Mustang district finalists are eager for their chance to compete at States.

“I’m very thrilled to be representing Portage Central, especially after the hard work that I’ve put in leading up to districts,” said Junior finalist Meredith Freeby.

There is still a lot of preparation needed to be ready for the state competition. Many of the finalists will practice every day, sometimes even with a coach or private instructor, trying to perfect their mistakes.

“I take private lessons and I practice a lot after school. I’m excited, especially since this is my first time doing a solo,” said Junior French Horn player Alena Greener.

At the state competition, competitors must perform their piece individually (solo) or as a group (ensemble) in front of a judge, as well as musical scales and a piece of sight reading. Their performance is then ranked on a scale of 1 to 5. Competitors receiving a 1 or 2 receive medals, but those with a score of 1 get to advance to the State competition in March at Grandville High School.

Many students will advance to the state competition, including freshmen Joel Kayser and Preston Meeker, sophomore Jenna Dornoff, juniors Lucy Cutler, Freeby, Justin Gatz, Greener, and Drew Schaefer, and seniors Chloe St. Clair and Anna Kayser.

“I’m feeling pretty ready. The hardest part is usually sight reading because you don’t know what the piece is, but I’ve been practicing a lot,” said Schaefer.

soloist band

Freeby performs her French horn soloist piece in front of her judge at the District Competition.