Band prepares to host Regional Solo and Ensemble competition

Emily Herrington

Senior Curtis Parrish practices Benediction with his tuba quartet, including senior Ethan Aubrey-Mitchell and freshmen Evan Sullivan and Matthew Lynn.

Emily Herrington, Arts Editor

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The De Soto High School band has taken over planning and hosting the 2014 Regional Kansas State High School Activities Association Solo and Ensemble competition. A total of 25 schools will perform and be judged in either a solo or ensemble on April 5.

Band Director Matt Bradford is in charge of collecting registration, creating a schedule and finalizing it. As well as being in charge of keeping things in line the day of. He spent over two weeks building the schedule and is ready to finalize everything for the event.

“There will be about a thousand kids that day, which is more than what goes to school here,” Bradford said. “Plus their family members and friends sometimes come to listen to them. Then there’s the band directors, bus drivers and others.”

At the competition, students from regional bands, choirs and orchestras will be participating.

“There’s two things they can do. Students can perform solos,” Bradford said. “And then there’s ensembles, which can be a group of three people or more. So, three trumpets could play a trio but it could also be up to 24 vocalists.”

Many DHS students are preparing for the show themselves.

“I’m only doing an ensemble this year because it’s a crazy time,” senior Mackenzie Lancaster said. “We’re doing A Coconut Named Alex and it’s a really fun samba. There’s some people who are doing a couple solos and a couple ensembles as well.”

While the contestants are confident in improving and being prepared when the time comes, Lancaster feels it is too soon to judge.

“I feel pretty good. It’s hard to tell when we’ve just started practicing,” Lancaster said. “Every year is always exciting going into it though. This year it’s a little more stressful, since we’re hosting it. We have more to worry about than just going and performing.”

Lancaster is performing a trio on the saxophone with junior Gabbi Juarez and sophomore Jared Schneider.

“Last year we had two seniors but I don’t think that changes anything. I actually think we’re better this year,” Schneider said. “I’m just excited to perform A Coconut Named Alex, which is a fun tune to play.”

Junior Jacob Sweatt is excited to perform Gavotte by Padre in a trumpet quartet.

“I love how it flows really easily,” Sweatt said. “We’re probably going to do a lot better. Last year we had about two weeks to prepare for it, and this year we’ve had a couple months.”

Students from the DHS choir will be performing as well. Senior Lizzy Henderson will be entering with two solos called Down in the Lonesome Valley and Harry Dance.

“I’m much more confident than I was last year. Especially since I’m choosing songs that are in English,” Henderson said. “This year it will be different because we’re hosting it, rather than going to a bigger university. I’m excited for the different experience.”

Although they cannot predict their results just yet, the band and choir are looking forward to seeing their results both as the host and individually.

“I’m excited, it’s always a lot of fun to perform there and I’m sure hosting will be fun as well,” Lancaster said.

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