Band Excels at Solo Competition

Band Excels at Solo Competition

Ethan Lao, Yearbook Designer

Almost all members of the band participated the Westwood Solo Competition on Saturday, April 23. During this process, students were given the opportunity to improve on their instruments based on feedback given by a judge. Of the people that had the best performances, a small group of students were selected to advance to semifinals, and an even smaller group selected for finals.

“It was a good experience because it helped me get used to playing in front of someone you don’t know,” Ken Aoki ‘16 said.

Similar to the UIL Solo and Ensemble competition, students prepare a challenging solo, through which they will become a better musician through hours of practice. Several weeks later, the students perform in front of a judge that is experienced at playing the student’s instrument. Immediately after the performance, the judge selects a rating (one through five, with one being the best) and critiques the student’s playing, giving tips on how to become a better musician. At the end of this qualifying round, each judge selects their top three performances, whose players get to advance to the semifinals. In total, 27 students advanced.

“It was really cool, unexpected, and exciting when I made semifinals,” Shelby Castleberry ‘19 said.

The 27 students are later invited back for semifinals, in hopes of advancing to the finals. The students select three minutes of their solo and play it for a panel of three judges. Those judges will select the top 10 players, who have the opportunity to perform in the finals.

“I was really happy when I made finals,” Rhythem Sharma ‘17 said. “I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to expand out of my comfort zone.”

The finals took place on Wednesday, April 26, where those 10 students performed in a recital format for an audience. After 10 great performances, judges finally decided on the final winner, Cyrus Yasrebi ‘16 on flute. Yasrebi will perform his winning solo on May 28 at the band spring concert.