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Paynesville Press - March 23, 2005

Band members play well at contest

By MIchael Jacobson

PAHS band students competed in the solo and ensemble contest last week at Eden Valley-Watkins High School, with nearly half of PAHS's entries earning the top ranking and three-quarters earning either the top of the second-highest ranking.

PAHS had 33 entries at last week's competition, and 12 soloists and three ensembles earned state superior rankings, the highest available. Another 10 soloists and two ensembles earned state excellent rankings, the second-highest available.

Best of Site winner Senior Val Callenius (at left) earned a perfect score (40/40) for her euphonium solo and was a "Best of Site" winner as well as earning the top ranking of state superior. It was the second year in a row that Callenius had gotten a perfect score, and she was surprised and pleased to get a "Best of Site" honor as well, she said.

Exhausted from her grandmother's funeral, school, and softball practice, Callenius said she considered not going to the contest last week but said she was glad to have gone and to have done so well. Her song this year, "My Regards," was harder than last year, she added, which she felt helped her get the "Best of Site" award with another perfect score.

Solo and ensemble entries at the contest are divided into five groups, with five judges rating the performers and providing them with written and verbal feedback.

Band director Ken Vork feels the contest is so valuable to the students that he continues to make it a class requirement. PAHS band students must perform either a solo or as part of an ensemble at the contest. (Contest participation was originally added as a band curriculum requirement as a grad standard.)

"Val just has this gorgeous vibrato and gorgeous tone," said Vork of her euphonium playing. "I think that's the first thing that strikes you when she plays is her sound.

PAHS also had three soloists who earned scores of 39 last week, one point from a perfect score. They were senior Amber Chevalier with a movement of Mozart's clarinet concerto; sophomore Dugan Flanders with "Concert Rondo," a Mozart piece originally written for horn and revised for the trombone; and senior Ashley Spanier with the "Allegro" from Leonard Vinci's "Sonata for Flute and Piano."

Vork said he was pleased with the performances by all the band members and felt that some of his younger players had done an especially good job and fared well at the band contest.

About a dozen band members were still on the German trip last week when the solo and ensemble contest was held on Monday, March 14. Instead of competing at this competition - with students from ACGC, BBE, EV-W, and NL-S - these students will attend another solo and ensemble contest - in a different region - in April.

PAHS will also host the large-group band and choir competition on Thursday, April 7, this year.

"Best of Site" Winner
Senior Val Callenius (euphonium solo, "My Regards")

State Superior Solos
Sophomore Cody Burr (trumpet), Callenius, senior Amber Chevalier (clarinet), junior Courtney Colbert (clarinet), sophomore Dugan Flanders (trombone), ninth grader Bryna Hendrickson (tuba), sophomore Morgan Kern (alto sax), junior Jessica Lahr (flute), junior Lindsey Pelton (alto sax), senior Ashley Spanier (flute), sophomore Peder Thompson (trombone), and sophomore Brad Torborg (tuba).

State Superior Ensembles
Sophomore Sam Chevalier and junior Kayla Nelson (flute duet); ninth grader Kelli Gerding, ninth grader Chelsey Hansen, ninth grader Natalie Leadem, sophomore Kirsten Miller, and ninth grader Christine Spanier (percussion ensemble); and junior Breanna Kochman and junior Laura Weidner (flute duet).

State Excellent Solos
Sophomore Sam Bayer (trumpet), junior Tom Chevalier (trumpet), junior Jess Engler (flute), sophomore Celia Frieler (euphonium), ninth grader Luke Frank (tenor sax), senior John Mohr (tuba), junior Megan Reeck (clarinet), sophomore Meredith Schaumann (horn), sophomore Cary Jo Schlick (clarinet), and junior Katie Schlick (horn).

State Excellent Ensembles
Ninth grader Cassi Goltz and sophomore Randi Schaefer (clarinet duet); and ninth grader Cassey Lund, Flanders, and Thompson (trombone trio).

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