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Paynesville Press - March 15, 2006

PAHS band hosts solo contest

By Michael Jacobson

Paynesville Area High School band members earned two of the three "Best of Site" honors at the subsection instrumental solo and ensemble contest held at PAHS on Monday, March 6. Nearly three dozen PAHS band members participated in the competition, with nearly half of PAHS entries earning the top rating of section superior.

Solo band winners PAHS had 21 entries, either solo or ensembles, with ten earning section superior ratings (highest), four earning section excellent ratings (next highest), and seven earning subsection superior ratings (third highest among four ratings, with the lowest being subsection excellent).

Two duets for PAHS earned "Best of Site" honors. In addition to rating each solo or ensemble, each of the three judges at the competition picks a solo or ensemble as their best of the night, or "Best of Site."

Juniors Dugan Flanders and Peder Thompson earned "Best of Site" honors for a trombone duet, and seniors Laura Weidner and Breana Kochmann earned "Best of Site" honors for a flute duet at the district band solo and ensemble contest held at PAHS on Monday, March 6.

Seniors Breana Kochmann and Laura Weidner earned a "Best of Site" honor for their flute duet, and juniors Dugan Flanders and Peder Thompson also earned one for their trombone duet.

All four musicians said they were pleasantly surprised to earn "Best of Site" honors at the competition.

Kochman and Weidner played "Allegro and Minuet" by Beethoven for the competition. They actually rehearsed it just a few times, they said, but since they have played together since sixth grade, playing well together is becoming second nature. "We've done quite a few duets together," said Kochmann. "We play really well together."

They scored 36 out of 40 to earn "Best of Site" honors. They actually have scored higher in past competitions, they said, but their judge must have been a tough grader.

Kochmann and Weidner just about missed the chance to earn "Best of Site" honors, said band director Ken Vork. Due to a miscommunication, they went to the wrong room, and their judge thought they had cancelled and was already tallying results with another act selected as "Best of Site."

Kochmann and Weidner arrived in time to play, though, and changed the judge's mind.

"Laura and Breana are both accomplished musicians," said Vork, "and their piece presented a lot of challenges. When I heard their duet on Friday, there were still a couple of spots that they were fine tuning. Obviously, they put some extra work into it because the judge was impressed."

Flanders and Thompson played "Lyrical Duo" by Johann Sebastian Bach for their duet. They scored 38 to earn "Best of Site" honors and said they had practiced a bit more this year. Their performance at the competition was "one of the better times we played," said Thompson.

"We felt pretty good coming out of it," agreed Flanders, "but we were still surprised (to earn 'Best of Site')."

"Peder's and Dugan's judge commented to me," said Vork, "that he was very impressed by the musicality represented by their performance. Their duet was one of the more difficult pieces he had heard that night, and yet they played together very well."

The other "Best of Site" winner was a trio from Litchfield. A total of five schools competed at the subsection meet at PAHS last week.

The PAHS band, along with the middle school bands, will present their spring concert in the school auditorium on Tuesday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m.

"Best of Site" Winners
Seniors Breana Kochmann and Laura Weidner (flute duet); and juniors Dugan Flanders and Peder Thompson (trombone duet).

State Superior Solos
Sophomore Bryna Hendrickson (tuba solo); ninth grader Karla Leitzman (clarinet solo); senior Caitlin Lien (oboe solo); ninth grader Russell O'Fallon (trombone solo); ninth grader Sam Rittenhouse (snare drum solo); and senior Katie Schlick (French horn solo).

State Superior Ensembles
Junior Samantha Chevalier and senior Kayla Nelson (flute duet); Flanders and Thompson (trombone duet); junior Celia Frieler, junior Jeremy Mohr, and ninth grader Alex Van Eck (euphonium trio); and Kochmann and Weidner (flute duet).

State Excellent Solo
Sophomore Luke Frank (tenor sax).

State Excellent Ensembles
Sophomore Cassi Goltz and junior Randi Schaefer (clarinet duet); ninth grader Dillon Herem and ninth grader Kelsey Reinke (alto sax duet); and Leitzman, senior Megan Reeck, junior Cary Schlick, and junior Krista Wendroth (clarinet quartet).

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