On Saturday, April 12th, a select number of G-R high school choir and band students participated in the IHSMA Solo/Small Ensemble Contest at Don Bosco in Gilbertville. Students prepare and memorize music to perform in front of a high-appraised judge, who then gives them a divisional rating. Performers can participate in as many events as they choose in both choir and band. Essentially, a student could perform a solo, a duet, a quartet, a triple trio, an ensemble, and the list goes on and on. Solo/Small Ensemble Contest is a great opportunity for students to receive personal feedback on their strengths and areas for improvement. No matter the ranking received, the day is centered around giving students the tools to make them successful in their choir and band pursuits.
Each judge is given a ballet and ranks a performance on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (superior) for each area of concern. For a vocal or instrumental solo or small ensemble performance, these are the things judges rank students on:
-Tone quality (resonance, control, clarity, focus, consistency, warmth), intonation (accuracy to printed pitches)
-Rhythm (accuracy of note and rest values, duration, pulse, steadiness, correctness of meters)
-Balance/Blend (likeness of qualities, awareness of ensemble, accompaniment)
-Technique (artistry, attacks, releases, control of ranges, musical and/or mechanical skill)
-Interpretation/musicianship (style, phrasing, tempo, dynamics, emotional involvement)
-Diction (vocal); Bowing (strings); Articulation (winds)
-Other performance factors (choice of literature, appropriate appearance, poise, posture, general conduct, mannerisms, facial expression, memory).
Judges leave written comments as well, which also address specific areas that students do well at and where there's room for improvement. A judge then totals up these areas of concern to give an overall point score. For a vocal solo, a student will receive a Superior I Division Rating if their total points fall between 32-35 points. An Excellent II Division Rating is received for 26- 31 points, Division III for 18-25 points, Division IV for 11-17 points, and a Division V for 7-10 points. (A Division IV and V are rarely given out.) The scoring for an ensemble performance are essentially the same, but they can obtain up to 40 points. 36-40: Division I, 30-35: Division II, 22-29: Division III, 12-21: Division IV, 8-11: Division V.
Now I'm sure you're curious to find out how Gladbrook-Reinbeck did at contest! Well, we are thrilled to say we took 21 events (4 band and 17 choir) and we brought home 12 Superior Division I ratings! Take a look at our rating results: Low Brass Solo: Emily Goettsch, Division II Vocal Solo: Alyssa Christopher, Division I Vocal Solo: Aaron Shouse, Division I Vocal Solo: Megan Oelschlager, Division II Brass Choir: Carley Crozier, Alex Thede, Jesse Royer, Emily Goettsch, Cole Goos, and Tyler Wrage, Division I Vocal Solo: Amanda Grunklee, Comments Only Vocal Quartet: Sadie Walton, Alyssa Christopher, Shelby Yates, Ellie Stoakes, Division I Vocal Solo: Amber Brandt, Division II Vocal Solo: Jesse Royer, Division I Vocal Solo: Braden Heithoff, Division II Vocal Solo: Carley Crozier, Division I Percussion Ensemble (Boomwackers): Jesse Royer, Shalyn Johnson, Cole Goos, Emily Goettsch, Brooke Beenken, Slade Wager, Tyler Wrage, and Dustin Churchwell, Division II Vocal Solo: Shelby Yates, Division I Vocal Duet: Braden Heithoff and Alyssa Christopher, Division II Vocal Solo: Hanna Christopher, Division I Vocal Double Quartet: Hanna Christopher, Jenny Schildroth, Cydney Rose, Moriah Hoeppner, Elise Peterson, Alyona Strohbehn, Jenna Hoffman, and Ashley Moore, Division I Vocal Solo: Cydney Rose, Division I High Brass Solo: Shelby Yates, Division I
Vocal Quartet: Aaron Shouse, Zach Pierce, Dan Robinett, and Tyler Wrage, Division I Vocal Solo: McKenzie Beck, Division III Vocal Quartet: Hanna Christopher, Alyona Strohbehn, Emily Johnson, and Kelsey Schwartz, Division I
It takes a lot of hard work to prepare for Solo/Small Ensemble, and everyone should be proud of their performances at contest! Watch out for many of these names to reappear next spring along with many more Division I ratings!