Members of the Orcas Island High School Band and Strings certainly took the initiative to show off their talent this year at the 2016 Solo and Ensemble Competition on January 30. This year, the competition was held at Bellingham High School. Orcas Island High School sent almost twenty soloists and group ensembles to the competition this year, with many students performing in multiple groups. The work that the students put into their performances truly paid off. The Orcas Island High School Strings ensemble was named State Alternate for the Large Strings Ensemble category, and Paris Wilson was also named State Alternate for her violin solo. Every year, winners in each category from the 22 regional contests held in Washington will gather for a state competition where first, second, and third places will be selected. Orcas Island High School’s qualifying constants will serve as alternates for this event.
The Orcas Island High School Band did not perform a single work together, but instead encouraged students to compete as soloists or as select ensembles. Band soloists included Tim Jenson, Destiny Wright, Devon Mann, and Leonie Walle. Many students also chose to play duets. The Bedazzling Brass Brigade included Kahana Pietsch and Tim Jensen who performed a duet for trombone and French horn. Kahana Pietsch also played a duet with trumpet player Devon Mann. McCabe Webb and Holden Griskey-Watson played a duet for baritone saxophone and bass clarinet, and called themselves the #Looking ♮s. Henry Moe and Haley Moss formed a group called HMo2. Larger ensembles included the Rolling Tones, featuring members Leonie Walle, Parker Landsman, Destiny Wright, and Ethan White. Jo Gudgell, Keith Light, Meg Waage, Liam Griskey-Watson, and Kayleigh Horton assembled a percussion ensemble and performed the snare routine “Pataflafla.” Devon Mann, Dominick Wareham, Ewan Lister, and Luke Pietsch competed in a second brass ensemble named The Orcas Island Brass. Claire Bishop Martin, Jo Gudgell, Kahana Pietsch, Leonie Walle, Devon Mann, Holden Griskey-Watson, and McCabe Webb organized a seven-member ensemble and wowed judges with their rendition of “The Magnificent Seven.”
The Orcas Island High School Strings competed as a group, but many students also took the opportunity to present solos or pieces for the small ensemble competitions. Michael Harlow and Paris Wilson both performed solos on the violin, and Anthony Kaskurs and Wylie Kau played a duet for cello. Michael Harlow joined with Joanne Mietzner for a duet. Zach Waage, Anthony Kaskurs, Wylie Kau, Paris Wilson, and Michael Harlow formed a quintet to play Joseph Haydn’s “Quartetto” Op. 5 No. 3. All in all, Orcas students impressed the judges and scored exceedingly well in the competition, with several contestants receiving superior rankings for their performances.