News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

IHSA Solo/Ensemble comes to Normal West

courtesy of IHSA
Normal West is set to host a sectional for the 2024 Solo/Ensemble competition through the IHSA on Saturday, March 2.

When one thinks of the phrase “March Madness,” it’s usually basketball that comes to mind. However, it’s also a busy time of year for music programs!

In fact, on Saturday, March 2, students and choirs from around the area will visit Normal West to complete in what is known as Solo/Ensemble.

“Solo/Ensemble is an IHSA-sanctioned event that students from all over our area come and perform for judges and get readings based on a set rubric,” Ms. Boehm, West’s orchestra teacher explains.

Throughout the day on Saturday, March 2, orchestras, bands, and choirs from schools as far as Champaign will perform for judges in Solo/Ensemble, which will be held here at West this year.

West’s chamber orchestra is ready to compete, having their latest concert on February 28. They will be scored on tone quality, intonation, rhythm, balance/blend, technique, interpretation/musicianship, and performance factors.

Orchestras will also be scored on bowing as well. There are five scores/divisions participants can achieve, the highest being one (superior) and the lowest being five (poor).

It’s required for chamber orchestra; however, anyone involved with their school’s band, orchestra, or choir can participate.

Students can choose their music and partners, (if they’re not a soloist). The orchestra chose its partners in January, so they were given about two months to practice.

Ms. Boehm, described the chamber as “The Hunger Games,” due to the chamber having 30 students involved.

“[I] just said ‘alright, choose your groups! These are going to be your groups for the next two months!’ But not every group was like that in my other classes, where they’re not assigned; they just talked to their groups of friends and decided [they wanted to do] ensemble together, and they [would] come in during lunch, before school, after school, and had a variety of practice times,” Boehm explains.

Students who are not a part of it, but would like to watch a friend are allowed with the permission of the person participating. However, it’s a confusing schedule because events run every eight minutes and it takes place in classrooms throughout the building.

There is no overall winner, but each classroom will have a “best of day” awarded to a student/group based on each category.

Ms. Boehm isn’t expecting big things from any particular individual student or group in West orchestra; however, she is excited to see how everyone does.

After Solo and Ensemble, orchestra will have two more big concerts before the end of the school year, and they will be going around to elementary schools to perform.

“The calendar does not slow down between now and the end of the year,” Ms. Boehm states.

Look for more to be added on this story once results are in!

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