Band and choir students perform at Regional Festival

Senior Adriana Feener warms up in the gym with members of the trumpet quintet at Mill Valley High School before their performance on April 6, 2019.

Lauren Stanton

Senior Adriana Feener warms up in the gym with members of the trumpet quintet at Mill Valley High School before their performance on April 6, 2019.

Lauren Stanton, Staff Reporter

Musical rhythms and notes are flying from all different directions in the warm up gym before performances begin. The gym is filled with hundreds of high school musicians. Nervousness and excitement flood the room.

This is what many De Soto High School band and choir students experienced at the Kansas State High School Activities Association Regional Solo and Ensemble Festival on April 6.

The festival took place throughout the entire day at Mill Valley High School. Band and choir students had the opportunity to perform a solo and or in a small ensemble.

Senior Julia Coverdale performed as both a vocal soloist and as a member in the small ensemble: De Soto Descants.

According to Coverdale, her favorite part of the festival was “being around an environment of musical people” and “sitting and hearing other choirs, other soloists and band members perform.”

Listening to other performances is a common practice at KSHSAA music festivals and enables the students to support one another.

“We [band directors and students] go to everyone’s events and have a great time. I think that it’s a great way to develop that family environment where everyone supports each other,” assistant band director Philip Kaul said.

This type of support is evident throughout the festival. Most musicians at the festival are very supportive of each other, even to those they do not know.

“I kept getting ‘good job’ or ‘good luck’ as I went into my solo,” said senior Adriana Feener, who performed in a trumpet quintet and a solo.

Students who received a 1 rating at Regionals will perform at the KSHSAA State Solo and Ensemble Festival in Emporia on April 27.

“We [DHS Band] took 28 solos and ensembles, which is already a really big number, and we qualified 18 groups for State,” Kaul said.

Feener was part of the 18 groups that qualified and claims that she is “excited and nervous” for the state festival.

Students have already begun to prepare for state.

“You [band and choir students] have to continue to prepare and raise the level of preparation because the judges expect that much more,” Kaul said.

Festivals like this allow students to display their individual skills.

“I think that a lot of people grow more through solo and ensemble than they do for the rest of the year combined, just because it’s something they take more personal ownership in,” Kaul said. “It’s an opportunity for individuals to shine.”

Performing at a high level at events such as KSHSAA help to improve the overall music program at DHS.

“Nothing is better for the quality of our band than the quality of our soloists and small ensembles. If that program is strong, then the band program overall will be really healthy,” Kaul said.

Lauren Stanton
De Soto Descants rehearse their ending action at Mill Valley High School before performing their song Dance on my Heart on April 6, 2019.