Tickling ivories to victory

 Students Hayle Ellis, Heather King, Ellie Warnes, and Emma Blom gather for a picture after receiving a “1” rating at the KSHAA regional festival, advancing to State piano which will be held in Wichita on Feb. 17.

Wildcat Photo

Students Hayle Ellis, Heather King, Ellie Warnes, and Emma Blom gather for a picture after receiving a “1” rating at the KSHAA regional festival, advancing to State piano which will be held in Wichita on Feb. 17.

Camryn Robbinson, Staff Reporter

Learning how to play piano is not a talent that is simply acquired. For students like sophomores Ellie Warnes and Emma Blom, starting at a young age got them to where they are now: state.

Senior Heather King and sophomores Hayle Ellis, Warnes and Blom will be attending the KSHSAA State Piano Festival. Before getting to State, students have to go through a Regional festival, run by the Kansas State High School Activities Association. In order to qualify for State, students must receive a 1 rating from the judges.

“Overall the experience is a little scary, but mostly fun. I interacted with other piano players [at the regional festival] and I went through the experience of finding out our scores with them,” Warnes said.

With State happening on Feb. 17,  students are preparing every second they can.

“The preparation for State is a lot more nerve-wracking than regionals because I have to work a lot harder and it involves more pressure for myself,” Blom said.

Unlike most State organized events, solo piano is not considered a competition. The students perform and receive a rating from a panel of judges instead of competing with other pianists.

“It is different, so you can’t really think of it as a competition because it is a rated score, but at the State level, if you make a couple of mistakes you won’t get a 1 rating, you will get at least a 2 rating,” band teacher Matt Bradford said.

With a new band class available next year, Bradford hopes to use that class to expand the number of students who attend State.

“Part of the plan [with the new class] is to encourage people, and it will be a good place to practice and learn new instruments,” Bradford said.

When it comes to next year, many plan to continue in the same piano playing path.

“I plan on competing next year because It has been a good experience for my piano career,” Warnes said.