Music department achieves success at state music contests

As many in the music department know, April is known as the busiest month of the year — amid various district and area festivals, final concerts and banquets, the student musicians also have to compete at state contest. But after weeks of preparation, their hard work was rewarded on April 13.

The string orchestra performed the earliest, leaving Northwest at 7 a.m. for Blue Valley West, where the event was hosted. They played two pieces — Mantras by Richard Meyer, solo by senior Dane Boring, and Andante Festivo by Jean Sibelius. The string orchestra included every single player in the freshmen, string ensemble, Camerata and Chambers groups combined, totaling over 120 people on stage. They earned straight 1’s from every judge, which is the highest rating possible.

The symphony orchestra played next, performing Allegretto, more commonly known as the Congratulations Minuet by Ludwig van Beethoven, and Rumanian Folk Dances by Bela Bartok. The symphony orchestra is limited to string players from only Camerata and Chambers, but includes bassoon, horn, trumpet, flute, piccolo, clarinet and timpani parts. They too received straight 1’s. Solos were played by sophomore Emily Babcock, and seniors Allison Williams and Philip Marten. Many of the players also competed in the Solo and Ensemble Festival April 9, including Babcock, whose trio received a 1, and her solo, a 2.

“All of us were really nervous but it was a great feeling to a 1 as two sophomores and a freshman. I had been practicing my solo for a long time but just once you get in that room by yourself the nerves got to me,” Babcock said. “I was definitely happy I got a 2 for a sophomore.”

Band took two groups to contest, Concert Band and Symphonic Band. Concert Band played The Nutmeggers March by Eric Osterling and Gaelic Rhapsody by Elliot Del Borgo. After Concert Band earned an average of 1, Symphonic Band then received all 1’s after playing Festivo by Edward Gregson and Amparito Roca by Jaime Texidor.

“I thought our dynamic contrast was really good, and just the way we played in general was our personal best,” junior Johnathan McDaniel said. “All the time and effort we put into practicing turned out better than we expected.”

For the choir department, both the Boys Choir and the Girls Choir got 2’s, and the A Capella Choir also had straight 1’s. They sang pieces ranging in style from classical to contemporary, such as Ave Verum Corpus by Wolgang Amadeus Mozart, Brothers, Sing On! by Edvard Grieg or Come to Me, My Love by Christina Rossetti and Norman Dello Joio.

“Overall, I feel we did pretty good, and our music department was in the top percentile,” senior Austin Steer said. “Just from what we heard and what we saw, our school is definitely among the top.”

Brianna Leyden