Choir members perform at annual event

Senior+Mackenzie+Miller+performs+her+solo+on+Jan.+16th+

Marisa Miller

Senior Mackenzie Miller performs her solo on Jan. 16th

Mike Layher, Web Journalist

Despite battling sickness, fifteen choir students, half of the total who intended on performing, traveled to Western High School to participate in the annual solo and ensemble festival.

Students practice on their own and attend weekly voice lessons with private teachers to prepare for the event.

“Choir solo and ensemble is where students learn two songs of contrasting nature over the course of a couple months,” said choir director Mr. Snell. “They go and sing for a judge, and that judge gives them a rating based on multiple criteria. Afterward, they receive a 15 minute clinic to help improve their skills.”

Students are judged based on their tone, breathing, presentation, dynamic contrast, musicality, and appropriateness of music for their skill level.

The ratings follow a numbered scale from one to four, determined by how many points the student received out of 30.

Students are able to qualify for state level solo and ensemble if they receive a rating of Excellent or higher.

Though almost half of the students who signed up to go were forced to scratch due to sickness, senior Mackenzie Miller was able to perform.

“I worked really hard to make sure [my songs] were performance ready,” said Miller. “I felt pretty confident going in even though it was nerve wracking.”

Miller received a score of 21 out of 30 for a rating of Good.

“[Solo and ensemble] inspires me to work harder,” said Miller. “If I do the work, it puts me so much closer to achieving my goal of doing the best I possibly can.”

Being in Vocal Dimension also helped Miller, as well as senior Grant Saylor, prepare for the event.

“[Solo and ensemble] makes me really nervous,” said Saylor. “It’s really brave for anyone to go up in front of a judge and just sing to somebody you don’t know.”

Saylor was one of the three people out of 300 total that received a perfect score of 30 with their performance.

He plans to move onto the state level and hopes to be nominated for the Youth Arts Festival, an annual three-day festival that helps 1,000 students further enhance their musical talents.

“[Performing] is really nice,” said Saylor. “You end up getting feedback from a variety of people and it isn’t just the same input you’ve received from your voice teacher.”

Musical festivals such as solo and ensemble are hard work that require time and effort, but they help to improve the abilities and performance quality of students.