Band Sets Sights On A New Competition: Solo & Ensembles


Hunter Knoble

Saxophone players Dalton and Devin practice

Madison David and Hunter Knoble

With marching season over, the band is on a new mission to Pine Tree for solo and ensemble contest. Every year band members volunteer to play a piece of music as a soloist or in an ensemble. This year band director Christi Speer is sending thirteen groups and four solos.

What is an ensemble? A small portion of the band studies and plays a song of choice in front of 2 to 3 judges. Each of the judges critiques a different subject of the music such as tone, sound quality, and overall how well it is played. To advance to state competition with an ensemble, you have to make a first division. Ensembles are either made up of all brass instruments or all woodwind instruments. There are no woodwind and brass ensembles.

The solos are judged differently though. If a solo is to make it to the state competition, you must have the entire song memorized and played at a first division level. Most solos are more complicated than an entire march ensemble.

Hunter Knoble
Speer working on her solo

One soloist, Skyla Speer, is doing both a solo and ensemble. Speer is hoping to get a one on her solo performance. “Learning the music and memorizing it is the hardest part of all,’ according to Speer. She is playing the Syrinx by Debussy.

A saxophone ensemble is playing Symphony Number 3 by J.C Bach. Sophomore Dalton Lunday is part of the quartet. Lunday claims, “If we have enough practice, we will make it to state.”

He says he decided to go to contest to honor his mentor and Harleton alumni Alyssa Postins. Even though it’s Lunday’s first ensemble, he is confident that the four of them will make it to state.

Hunter Knoble
Jackson is ready for Contest

Drummer, Jalen Jackson, will be performing a solo piece titled Ginger Snap. He states, “This is probably the hardest song I have ever played.” Jackson feels like he isn’t going to do the best at the contest because he doesn’t have much time and help.

Although he doesn’t feel good about this year’s competition, he will still try his best. His passion for music is obvious with the words, “I love music a lot. It turns me into a different person, it brings out my inner shell.”

The students will compete on February 8th at Pine Tree High School.