Districts, a thing of the past for the music department


Ann Fitzmaurice

With the first bus leaving RBHS at 6:45 a.m., and coming home with extreme success the band, choir and orchestra students made a great sacrifice for district solo and ensemble competition — their sleep. Nonetheless, 36 solos and four ensembles from band, seven soloists and three ensembles from orchestra and lastly 15 solos and five ensembles made it to state competition. There, the students will compete with others from all over Missouri.
Junior band student Kaitlyn Smith looks forward to her third trip to state playing flute.
“Seeing music students from all over perform is a really cool experience,” Smith said. “[The students] help me push myself as a competitive player.”
As first chair flute in RBHS’s highest level band, wind symphony, Smith is used to rivalry. Nonetheless, her solo at districts wasn’t played with 100 percent confidence, she said. Although she prepared for weeks prior and ultimately triumphed with her high rating, Smith still finds herself wracked with nerves before playing for the judges. Likewise, freshman oboe player Meredith farmer also found herself anxious before she played.
“[Playing] was super stressful and my nerves were all over the place,” Farmer said, “But I practiced a lot and it paid off really well.”
As a freshman, Farmer wasn’t expecting to get a “one” rating and making it to state, she said. For the time being, Farmer plans to keep working on her solo and uses her accomplishment to push her further. Similar to Farmer, sophomore Alex Drury achieved state recognition although he performed in an ensemble, not a solo. Drury’s ensemble only practiced once a week, so Drury said he is lucky and thankful they got such a good rating.
“As an ensemble, we made many mistakes,” Drury said. “I think [our mistakes] were better in the long run though because we definitely know what to work on for next time.”
For the time being, the solos and ensembles have a month to improve so they can hopefully achieve a high rating at state as they did at districts. On April 27, the musicians will be tested once again, with their hard work hopefully paying off.
“No matter how hard you practice there’s always going to be something to improve on,” Smith said. “I look forward to state as the next step in my musicianship.”