On March 16, band and orchestra students will attend the Solo and Ensemble State Festival, an event in which a panel of judges will assess their musical talents. This year, more than 20 different performances will aim to earn the highest rating. Staff Writer Caitlin Quinn |Staff Writer Dave Draves


Senior Hadley Samarco has been involved with Solo and Ensemble since her freshman year. She has been involved in various duets and quartets, but has remained a part of the clarinet choir for all four years. This year she conducted for districts and will be playing bass clarinet for states
In preparation for the state-level performance, Samarco practices quite frequently, but really focuses on fitting it into her daily life.
“It’s pretty laid back,” Samarco said. “We want it to be different from band, which is a bit stricter. We practice twice a week for whoever can make it, because working with that many schedules can be really difficult.”
During these practices Samarco focuses on a variety of different things, including critique from district judges she received after their district performance.
“I’ve been going through and deciding if we need to make adjustments on the instrumentation,” Samarco said.
Through practicing and correcting weaker areas, Samarco feels that the clarinet choir is ready for the upcoming performance at States, March 16 in Lapeer.



Freshman Jacky Cheng first became interested in joining Solo and Ensemble when he was in seventh grade. Having not performed a solo until this year, Cheng is excited to better understand the process and to receive feedback on his performance.
“I think it’s easier to do solos because you don’t have to worry about everyone else and you can just focus on your own part,” Cheng said. “But I also like being in a group because it is easier to help each other get better at your part.”
Cheng has different rehearsals nearly every day of the week with his different ensembles in order to improve on each one of their performances.
“I remember last year my clarinet quartet got a one and the saxophone quartet, sadly, got a two,” Cheng said. “The judge made us stop halfway through and made us count. It was interesting because we were all at different tempos, and it was just a good way to improve.”
Cheng said his favorite part about Solo and Ensemble is the bond it has allowed him to make with his friends all while doing the thing he loves.
“I just like hanging out with my friends,” Cheng said “We all enjoy music and just love doing what we like to do.”



Senior Morgan Hallberg and junior Ashley Welsch have been a flute duet for Solo and Ensemble for the past two years. After receiving a one, the highest score possible, at their regional performance, Welsch and Hallberg have been putting forth a full effort in order to finalize their performance for States.
“We practice hard all the time,” Welsch said. “We even practice during commercial breaks of the Bachelor.”
The only thing that both Welsch and Hallberg are nervous about is the tuning of their instruments in the practice room. The temperature in the performance room and the temperature in the warm up rooms are often different, which causes the tuning of an instrument to be difficult before a performance.
“You will be tuned in one room and then in the performance room it is completely off,” Welsch said.
With much practice and their combined Solo and Ensemble experiences, Welsch and Hallberg said they expect to perform well at states and hope to receive a one for their final performance.