Solo and Ensemble crushes another year


Jayme Ivy

A violin and sheet music from an SMS orchestra performer lay on a table in the commons before the Solo and Ensemble festival on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

By Belle Modeen, Reporter

Solo and Ensemble took place on March 28 at 3:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in the choir room, art rooms, and the PAC. This involved all the music programs from choir, band and orchestra and even some middle schoolers came to perform at this event. 

Orchestra teacher Amy Eicher says that this was her second year planning for Solo and Ensemble. She conducted Chamber Orchestra which was the first one performed early in the PAC. Eichers gave the option to teach lessons to those that needed the extra help for their solos, duets, and trios before, and after school also during advisory. She thought everything went smoothly and it was very beneficial for all the musicians. 

“Some of these students worked on their pieces two or three months before Solo and Ensemble, even some of them have been working on it for a year which is commitment,” Eichers said. 

All that participated in this event had worked super hard, and that work paid off for most of them making it to state that in May that was mentioned by most music instructors. 

Cello player Junior Claire Farnham made it to state with a one star which is the highest score has been in orchestra for six years. And three of those years were in Middle School. She had played cello for two songs in one performance leading up to her well deserved score. Farnham has participated in Solo and Ensemble every year except 2020, and this year she had practiced a song for a whole year that was chosen to be her solo. 


“I really didn’t practice as much at school like I should’ve but I practiced a lot over and over again also by recording myself at home using my at home cello,” Farnham said. 

Musicians that were involved and directors had to commit a lot of time to make this a successful event. 

Tenor Saxophone player Junior Aidan Robbins has been doing band for six years and three of those years were all in middle school.This is his first year in choir as a tenor but he did LSYC for 5 years. He had participated in five events in total with four of them making it to state. Robbins most enjoyable moment was hanging out with his friends and watching performances at Solo and Ensemble. 

“I wasn’t super worried about my performance but like right before I performed I got some jitters,” Robbins said.

Everyone had a set time to perform right after each other or at the same time in the different sections for each music department. 

Choir Director Jennifer Robbins says that members from each choir that perform in a quartet, duets, and solos but in total there were 27 competing. She mentioned that the choir started selecting their options for Solo and Ensemble in November choosing on the WSMA list online. Historically in the past Solo and Ensemble event had been at the Middle School, and this year so many choir students participated it’s a thought to do it somewhere else next year. 

“I chose to use some of the songs for Solo and Ensemble for the Pops Concert for experience and preparation,” Robbins said.

Junior Emerald Melander is in band and choir. This is her first year in choir and sixth year in band with three years in middle school, and started choir this year performing three pieces. Two of them were for Spartan Singers and the other she was in a quartet. Her main focus was choir during Solo and Ensemble and balanced what pieces were harder to learn. She made it to state for all of her events, and the most nerve racking part was waiting to perform in silence. 

“I practice what’s harder, and try focusing on choir or band for what needs to be practiced more,” Melander said.

Solo and Ensemble is hosted here so it’s easier for others in the district to come such as Northwestern and Solon Springs ninth through twelfth grade, and is open to Middle Schooler seventh to eighth graders. State this year is held in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on May 6 for all of the Music Departments but in different sections for each in the school. 


This is a great opportunity for all parts of the music community to grow their passion for music, and to get better with some professional feedback. 

Members of the Orchestra group listen to feedback from a professional music teacher after their performance at the Solo and Ensemble festival on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.