Fourteen Panther Band students qualified for state at Solo and Ensemble competition held last Saturday at Sam Houston High School in San Antonio.
“We had an outstanding showing this year,” said band director Brian Hecimovich. “Many judges were very impressed by how prepared Blanco students were, especially being one of the first regions in the state to go.”
Comments on judges’ cards included “very mature presentations” and “excellent musical expression by all players.”
According to Hecimovich, Solo and Ensemble competition is the Track and Field competition of the band world.
Students prepare on an individual level (solo) or a small team level (ensemble). Ensembles range from 3—12 members depending on the piece of music and instrumentation.
Solos and Ensembles must be chosen off a UIL state approved list, and only the most difficult (Grade 1) can have a chance at advancing to state.
Blanco had four Solos advance this year. Solo competitors have to completely memorize their performance to advance.
Ensembles do not have to be memorized, but advancement is very difficult. Each person has his or her own part. Ensemble members trust each other and work together to make beautiful and harmonious music.
Students who play a Grade 1 Solo or Ensemble, and receive a Division 1 from the judge, advance to state.
“We had some remarkable performances,” said Hecimovich. “I was impressed with those eighth graders that stepped in to Ensemble situations. They played a major role in both our advancing Ensembles.”
“One eighth grader in particular, Steven Flores, stepped into our Saxophone Ensemble in an emergency situation and learned his part the night before. If he would not have been able to step in for us, the Saxophone Ensemble would not have been able to perform, much less go to state.”
“I want to especially recognize Alina Aly, who qualified for state both in Solo and Ensemble! She has now been to state every year of her high school career.”
“This is the most we have had advance to state in some time. I am very proud of the hard work and the accomplishments of the Panther Band students.”
“These students should be commended for their behind the scenes work!”
State Qualifiers Solo and Ensemble–Bryce Burson, Flute Solo, sophomore; Echoe Burkhart, Trombone Solo, senior; Charity Windham, Marimba Solo; Alina Aly, Snare Drum Solo and Percussion Ensemble, senior; Jordan Forsberg, Percussion Ensemble, freshman; Lane Hoelting, Percussion Ensemble, senior; Kailan Webster, Percussion Ensemble, 8th grade; Jonathan Campbell, Percussion Ensemble, 8th grade; Luis Elizondo, Percussion Ensemble, 8th grade; Kelsey Schwind, Saxophone Ensemble, senior; Michael Bagley, Saxophone Ensemble, sophomore; John Adams, Saxophone Ensemble, freshman; Justis Liesmann, Saxophone Ensemble, senior; Steven Flores, Saxophone Ensemble, 8th grade.