Student musicians compete at State Solo and Small Ensemble Festival


Sienna Xu

Seniors Hannah Brauer and Jordan Beveridge practice for Ed Sandheindrich’s Symphonic Orchestra Ensemble.

On April 30, more than 30 music students will perform in the state competition at Mizzou.

“[We qualified] for state by going to solo and ensemble in March at Parkway Central and we played in front of a judge. [They give a rating] on a numerical scale and, if you get a one, then you go to the state competition at Mizzou,” junior and violinist Bryan Zhang said.

Musicians like freshman pianist, Sharon Lee, describe performing in front of the judges as very nerve racking.

“I am a perfectionist and so I want to do really well. I know that the judges know music really well and that they will be picky with their critiques which makes me nervous because I want to get all the little things right,” Lee said.

This will be Lee’s first time competing at state, but she has participated in competitions at various colleges in the St. Louis area outside of school.

“Performance for competition is an opportunity to showcase your ability and skill, but it is also  about making good music and showing the emotions and all the different qualities of the song,” Lee said.

This will be Zhang’s third time competing at the state music competition, so he is familiar with the atmosphere there.

“There are a bunch of high school musicians and it is actually a really social atmosphere. Last year, we set a world record for most high fives in like 15 minutes,” Zhang said. “It is normal high schoolers doing normal things, but then you get to 15 to 20 minutes before you are supposed to play and everyone is more intense and focused. The atmosphere is quieter and people are nervous.”

Students like sophomore vocalist Betsy Wait began learning her songs in January.

“Since I’ve been working on my songs for a few months, I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with the dynamics and phrasing, so that I can better portray the message of the piece,” Wait said.