Every year high school singers and musicians take part in regional events and competitions. The following is a round-up of top honors given to district musicians in their category. Special acknowledgement and kudos goes to all the high school music teachers who help district students attend these events and perform at high levels of achievement.
Regional Solo/Ensemble January 2020
Every January, high school musicians from Island, Skagit and Whatcom counties attend the San Juan Music Educators Solo and Ensemble contest. This year it was hosted at Sehome High School. Solo/Ensemble is the regional competition that moves competitors on to the state level.
The following students and ensembles in Bellingham Public Schools won first place in their category and will head to the state solo/ensemble competition in late April 2020 at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.
From Bellingham High School: Olivia Grendon, tenor-baritone saxophone; Audrey Fry, soprano; Brody Buck, baritone; Benjamin Ritchey, bass; and Logan Foy, tenor; Showstoppers, mixed vocal large ensemble; and Lolo duet, mixed vocal small ensemble
From Sehome High School: Clara Kelly, violin; Nico Centurion, viola; Jaechan Lee, cello; Sehome Concordia Chamber Orchestra, string ensemble large; Kabardinian String Quartet, string ensemble small; Mia Lustick, soprano; and Elaine Mueller, alto.
From Squalicum High School: Diego Mesquita, soprano-alto saxophone; Hot Sax V, woodwinds, large ensemble; Hot Sax, woodwinds, small ensemble; Nick Schneider, timpani; Jacob Lann, guitar; Mehar Singh, mezzo-soprano; and Thor’s Angels, small vocal ensemble.
Below are four student musicians who took time during the January 2020 solo/ensemble competition to share a little of their musical pursuits.
Junior Ruby Miller and senior Logan Haines from Bellingham High School, of the Mirror Match Violin Duet, have both played the violin for seven years. Ruby also plays guitar. Ruby has competed in Solo and Ensemble since sixth grade and Logan since eighth grade, but it was their first performance playing their duet together. To prepare, they practiced 2 to 3 times a week and practiced over the course of a month. They named their duet team “The Mirror Match. ”Although Ruby was a little nervous beforehand, Logan said he gets in the performance zone and “shuts off” his anxieties to focus on playing the best that he can.
Senior Jenny Cooper from Sehome High School plays solo guitar and violin with Sehome Concordia Chamber Orchestra. This was her third year competing at Solo and Ensemble. As a dual instrumentalist, she has played guitar for eight years and violin for seven years. She said she was nervous for her solo guitar performance, but she prepared by practicing at least an hour a day for several months beforehand. Some of her inspiration comes from her favorite types of music, including Latin and flamenco guitar, and rock music. She also plays the electric guitar in her four-person rock band Heroes, which plays gigs and house shows around Bellingham. For her second performance, she played violin in the large ensemble Sehome Concordia Chamber Orchestra. She said she “was less nervous” for that performance because she’s playing with her friends and peers, who always smile encouragingly to each other during the performance.
Senior Lola Russo from Bellingham High School is a soprano soloist and in the Bellingham Showstoppers Choir Ensemble. Besides singing for as long as she can remember, she also plays ukulele and is a cheerleader. To prepare for Solo/Ensemble, she took once-a-week voice lessons with her voice teacher who she said is “very good at inspiring her to sing and work on challenging pieces.” Her two performance pieces were in German and French, which present different challenges of diction and accents. Lola says she is interested in studying German after high school at Western Washington University or in Germany. She also performed in the Bellingham Showstoppers Choir Ensemble in four-part acapella harmony, although they sometimes split into more parts. Without a director or piano accompanist to help lead their way, a student from the group played one starting pitch on the piano before the Showstoppers took a breath together and started on their separate pitches simultaneously.
Congratulations to all who competed in the regional competition in January 2020.
All-State Conference February 2020
The 2020 National Association for Music Educators All-State Conference will be held in February in Yakima, Washington. The following high school musicians auditioned and were accepted into All-State ensembles.
From Bellingham High School: Ashley Grinstead, alto sax, All-State Concert Band; Brody Buck, bass1, All-State Symphonic Choir; Mateyah Mullen, soprano 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; and Benjamin Ritchey, bass 2, All-State Symphonic Choir.
From Sehome High School: Roisin Connor, Violin, All-State Chamber Orchestra; Clara Kelly, violin, All-State Symphony Orchestra; Camille Kendrick, cello, All-State Chamber Orchestra; Jaechan Lee, cello, All-State Symphony Orchestra; Casey Malone, alto 1, All-State Treble Choir; John Malquist, bass 1, All-State Symphonic Choir; Emma Wilson, soprano 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; Iain Tarves, bass 1, All-State Symphonic Choir; Mia Lustick, soprano 1, All-State Jazz Choir; Liam Jensen, bass 1, All-State Symphonic Choir; Casey McEvoy, tenor 1, All-State Jazz Choir; Orly Lindner, oboe, All-State Chamber Orchestra; and William Kovacevic, trombone; All-State Concert Band.
From Squalicum High School: Chris Lann, viola, All-State Symphony Orchestra; Alex Bowen, soprano 2, All-State Treble Choir; Jake Bowen, bass 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; Sarah Halsell, soprano 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; Daniel Maeda, bass 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; Emma Mangum, alto 1, All-State Treble Choir; Sofia Mesquita, alto 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; Jack Shaughnessy, tenor 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; Mehar Singh, soprano 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; Caden Stoane, tenor 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; Sydney Tag, alto 1, All-State Treble Choir; Kezia Thompson, alto 2, All-State Treble Choir; Luke Thompson, bass 2, All-State Symphonic Choir; Diego Mesquita, alto saxophone, All-State Wind Ensemble; and Shannon Bosche, alto saxophone, All-State Concert Band.