Como-Pickton band students earned high marks at the Solo and Ensemble Contest hosted Feb. 6 at North Lamar, with one student scoring high enough to advance to the state contest.
The competitors included a number of students who “stepped up and really shone at their playing level,” including an eighth and a ninth grader.
Sophomore Daniel Fisher’s performance stood out. Fisher earned a first division, or superior, rating for his Class I piano solo, “Toccata in E Flat Minor.” As is the case with all Class I competition, Fisher had to memorize the piece he played before the judges.
The first division rating also qualifies Fisher to compete in the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest to be held May 30 and June 1 in Austin.
Fisher has been in the school band since sixth grade, lending his talents in the marching band to such instruments as the xylophone.
Other soloists earned first division ratings, but on Class 2, not Class 1, performances. Consequently, they did not qualify for state advancement.
Dustin Flowers earned a first division ranking for his Class II alto saxophone solo. Flowers, a senior and drum major this year, was touted as a musician with “chops” on tenor, alto and baritone sax. He is said to be “very knowledgeable” with a “good thorough range,” according to C-P Band Director Jeremy Wofford.
Flowers was also part of the saxophone quartet that included sophomores Justin Teer and Austin Baxley and eighth grader Eduardo Grimaldi, which played a Class 2 solo.
“This was a very good score — it was out of their usual,” Wofford said. “They are very capable. The saxophone line is going to be very strong over the next few years.”
Baxley also earned a second division rating for his Class 2 tenor sax solo.
Wofford described Teer as a “developing student” who received a Division 3 rating on his Class 3 solo.
Paige Cooksey earned a superior ranking for her Class 2 trumpet solo, while Junior Cuevas, a ninth grader, received a Division 1 rating for Class 2 snare drum solo.
Cuevas also was part of the percussion ensemble which included Fisher, freshman Jacee Satterfield and seniors Crystal Killgo and Ryan Sharp and earned a Division 1 rating for their Class 3 ensemble.
This is an interesting group in the grade range of performers, Wofford said, in addition to the fact that Sharp hasn’t been in band very long.
Wofford said Sharp approached him when the student needed to fill a slot in his schedule. Wofford agreed to let him audition for the band on percussion. Wofford gave the nod, and Sharp has been learning to read rhythm, and has really “jumped in and played.”
Killgo also performed a Grade 3 snare solo which was classified a Division 2.
Senior Laura Wilson earned a second division, or excellent, rating for her Class 2 flute solo, which Wofford noted she “worked really hard on.” The band director noted Wilson’s stage presence to have “really developed” over the past two years.
“She is one that two years ago couldn’t play for me,” said Wofford. “She’s really come along from one not able to play in front of me to playing in front of others and at contest.”
Also competing at the solo and ensemble contest was Hunter Cain. The sophomore's Class 2 trumpet solo received a 3. Wofford said the score does not reflect the young musician’s usual caliber of performance, which the band director said is “far superior” to the Solo and Ensemble score. Cain was commended for his determination and perseverance, completing his performance instead of quitting when he experienced serious technical difficulties which affected his playing.
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