Hard work pays off at the Solo and Ensemble Orchestra contest

Photo from newsnowdc.com

Photo from newsnowdc.com

Riley Hyatt, Reporter

Most high school students wouldn’t willingly wake up at 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning, and even less would be excited. Yet, while walking into Perry Meridian Middle school on Saturday Feb. 7th at 8:30 AM, I wasn’t tired. I’d been preparing for my orchestra contest for weeks, in fact ever since I returned from winter break, and I felt confident that my string trio and small ensemble would excel.

The Solo and Ensemble Orchestra contest takes place at Perry Meridian Middle School every year, and along with a large ensemble totalling around 20 people, every member of orchestra has the opportunity to be in a smaller ensemble for example, a trio. For brave souls, solos are an option, but since I don’t fall into that category, that was out of the question. Each participant is required to pay a $7 entry fee for each solo or ensemble they participate in.

Along with others in Advanced Orchestra, I took part in the trio competition with Kacey Canada and Calista Richards. On the day of the competition, the three of us nervously arrived thirty minutes before our scheduled performance time in room B106 in order to rehearse our music for the last times.

After running through our piece Canada, Richards and I somewhat confidently walked to our performance room to find our orchestra teacher, Ms. Elizabeth Levin, waiting to tune us. In that moment I realized: “This is the point of no return.” We’d stayed after school, practiced individually and together countless times and there was nothing more we could do. We just had to play.

I looked to my right and my left to see my parents, and those of ones in my group, with phones in hand, ready to record every note we played.

After what felt like 10 minutes of utter silence waiting on the judge to finish his comments for the last group’s performance, we were given the cue to begin.

Richards, being the violin in the trio, began the piece by sniffing the tempo. I came in shortly after on viola and Canada, on the cello, came in last. The counting in our song was difficult and, out of nerves, I don’t believe we did as well as we could have. The judge quite liked our performance, though, and gave us a gold rating. Other than the gold medal we all received, this presented us with an invitation to perform at the state level Solo and Ensemble competition on Feb. 28. I was very proud of the members in my group and delighted to be attending my first state Solo and Ensemble competition to take place in just two short weeks.

After my first performance, there was a five hour break until my large ensemble so, as a celebratory gesture, my family and I all went out to breakfast. Later, my family and I returned for my second performance and my sister’s first.

The only thing better than the two gold medals I received that day was the waffle I enjoyed for breakfast at Four Seasons. A memorable and delicious day.