Musicians set for Solo and Ensemble

For the past three months, students from both Advanced Band and Wind Ensemble have been preparing for the annual Solo and Ensemble music assessment, which this year is being held at Viera High School on Feb. 15-16.

Solo and Ensemble is an optional event during which students can choose to perform a solo, or be a part of a larger group of two or more. Senior trombone player Robert Edmiston chose to perform a solo and said he hopes to get a lot out of his performance.

“Learning a solo helps advance my trombone playing,” he said. “[The solo] will make me a better musician, too. I can use the judge’s comments to my advantage.”

At Solo and Ensemble, the student goes into an assigned room, plays musical piece of  his or her choosing, and receives comments from the judges, who later form the basis of a rating.

Edmiston says he will have his nerves under control during his performance.

“I won’t be too nervous,” Edmiston said. “There’s always a small amount of nerves, but it’s not too much to handle. I really only get nervous waiting to find out my score afterwards.”

Sophomore flutist Kevin Baylen, participating in his third Solo and Ensemble event, said that his nerves affect his playing, but the sweaty palms and pounding heart are worth it in the long run.

“I was nervous and excited at the same time,” Baylen said of last year’s performance. “I even messed up a couple times because of it. I’ll still get performing experience though, which is good for future auditions.”

Sophomore Alex Autenrieb said he wants to get something more out of his jazz combo performance and rehearsals, but hard work will be necessary.

“The reason I started my ensemble in the first place was to teach people to play jazz music,” he said. “I want to help the newer guys to the jazz band learn the way jazz is supposed to be.”

Autenrieb said he wanted to form a jazz combo for the Solo and Ensemble event, but experienced jazz musicians were in short supply. He found four willing volunteers, but he needed help from a pair of Jazz Band veterans to help his cause.

“I asked Daniel Tenbusch and Dakota Helbig to help me out with the combo,” Autenrieb said. “We’ve been practicing as much as we can and focused our practice on the style of the music.”

Even with a newly formed group of inexperienced jazz musicians, Autenrieb sounds confident.

“We won’t be nervous,” he said. “I think we’re confident in our playing and don’t really care about playing in front of people.”

By Katie Garwood