“Push yourself beyond, ‘I go to band,’” Kevin Egan, band teacher, said.
The best musicians in the district did just that, competing at the District Solo and Ensemble Competition on March 4. Rounds began at 8 a.m. at the high school, where students play their pieces for professional judges to critique. Those who finished in the top of their categories qualified for State Soloist Contest at Pacific University.
Egan, who has directed bands here for nine years, requires that students in his highest level band, which is an honors class, participate in the solo and ensemble competition. He believes it’s beneficial for young musicians. Like an audition, soloists prepare a piece and go in unannounced to the judges.
“Really, musicians kind of live and die on auditions,” Egan said.
This year, 11 soloists finished in the top of their categories at the district level and and competed at state. Three finished in the top of their categories as this year’s state champions.
“Feels weird,” Jack Pesch, sophomore, said. “Still feels weird.”
Pesch arrived at Pacific University at 8 a.m., warming-up before walking to a different building to perform Henry Eccles’s “Sonata in G Minor” at 9:10.
“I had a lot of fun with it, Pesch said. “There were times in my solo when I really felt it, so I would smile at myself and my instrument like, ‘That sounds really good.’”
This year was Pesch’s first time competing at the State Soloist Contest. The same goes for Sheridan Hardy, junior. Hardy was also satisfied.
“My performance there was probably the best I’ve ever played,” Hardy said. The countless hours of hard work Hardy invested paid off, as he finished in first with Bellstedt’s “Napoli” on euphonium.
“The piece I performed,” Hardy said, “I’ve been working on for 10 months now.”
While Pesch and Hardy were newcomers, other musicians were well-worn veterans. For three years now, Will Glausi, junior, has taken first place in alto saxophone.
“I really like the environment and just the atmosphere that the competition creates,” Glausi said. “That’s why I keep doing it.”
Glausi almost missed the District Solo and Ensemble competition, but on the Monday before the Saturday competition, he changed his mind.
“I pulled out a piece I played in eighth grade and played it for the judges,” Glausi said, ‘And made it to state.”
Because of this, Glausi had little more than a month to practice a new piece, as opposed to two or three months of preparation he usually has. Ultimately, it didn’t matter.
“Every year I’ve been happy with my performance,” Glausi said, “And apparently the judges have been happy too.”
So too is Egan, who called Glausi “The Peyton Pritchard of the Oregon alto sax world.”
“There are few things we can really do to benefit the best players,” Egan said, “But state solo is the top of the list.”
Some students also performed at the State Ensemble Contest on April 28. A complete list of solo and ensemble winners can be found below.
Will Glausi, junior – Alto Saxophone
Sheridan Hardy, junior – Euphonium
Jack Pesch, sophomore – String Bass
Henry Baumgardner and Neil Yotsuya, seniors – Small Brass Ensemble
Nathaniel Colman, senior – Baritone Voice
Joaquin Socolofsky, junior – Flute
Eaton Lin, senior – Viola
Jake Nielson and Ryan Conrad, seniors; Lauren Griffith and Max Becker, juniors; Eli Dodd, sophomore – Large Brass Ensemble
Jake Nielson, senior – Trumpet
Noah Gardner, senior – French Horn
Evan Boies, junior – Clarinet
Eli Dodd, sophomore – Tuba
Rhys Brunetto and Carson Bradford, sophomores – Small Brass Ensemble
Jonathan Zilk, senior; Sheridan Hardy and Ben Carr, juniors; Eli Dodd, sophomore – Small Brass Ensemble