Avon High School Hosts ISSMA Solo and Ensemble

By Alyssa Bates | Reporter 

With musical selections ranging from show tunes to Schubert, singers and pianists performed in front of a state certified judge Jan. 30 at Avon High School. No one viewed another student as competition, because the only competition they happen to have is themselves and their ability to individually perform their song.

This was the story as the Avon Choir Program hosted one of the eight different locations of the District Vocal and Piano events for the ISSMA Solo and Ensemble. Nearly 1,000 different students were judged by 11 different judges and each received individual or group ratings of bronze, silver or gold.

For junior Alex Adkins, this is her seventh year participating in the ISSMA Solo and Ensemble. Adkins received a gold rating for a prepared solo and two ensembles.

“I’ve been doing Solo and Ensemble since fifth grade and it really has helped me,” Adkins said. “Despite the stress, I actually like participating. It’s a good confidence boost.”

There are many factors that are involved in receiving a good score, which include breathing technique, intonation, tone quality, note accuracy, rhythmic accuracy, diction and enunciation, interpretation, and musicianship.

“You obviously have to think of the basic things like remembering your words and singing the right notes,” Adkins said. “But you also have to be mindful of the small things and how you express yourself and your stage presence. It’s a lot of things to remember at once.”

Avon Choir Director Mr. Rick Gamble said this contest is different than a regular choir contest because it is more individual and allows for more “personal growth and improvement.”

“Entire choirs don’t get to go because the limit for Solo and Ensemble is no bigger than 20 people in a group,” Gamble said. “We have Organizational Choir Contests later. The minimum number for those contests is 21 students.”

Thirty-five out of the 39 ensembles that performed from Avon received gold ratings. One such performer was senior Alex Edgecomb.

“Getting feedback on your performance is a unique experience and also getting to see your peers perform is a really neat opportunity. You get to see what you’re doing well and what you can do better,” Edgecomb said.

Avon High School doesn’t receive any direct profit or special benefits by hosting the contest.

“We do this for the experiences the students receive by being involved,” Gamble said. “Also, the Avon District Solo and Ensemble is a destination for many students from other schools, and when some of them end up at State Solo and Ensemble, it is a big deal for them. It helps to hone students’ vocal skills in a smaller setting. One of our goals is for students to improve and become better performers and Solo and Ensemble does just that.”

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