Young Peninsula musicians qualify for state competition

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — About 100 North Olympic Peninsula music students, including 12 solo performers and those in eight ensembles, have qualified for state competition.

They qualified at Saturday’s North Olympic Music Educators/Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Solo and Ensemble Festival at Port Angeles High School.

The student musicians will perform at the Washington Music Educators Association State Solo and Ensemble Contest on April 26-27.

They will include the champion 2012 violin soloist, Erin Hennessey of Port Angeles High School, who will return to state competition as a member of a small string ensemble.

More than 300 student musicians from four high schools and three middle schools on the North Olympic Peninsula gathered at Port Angeles High last Saturday for the 2013 North Olympic Music Educators Solo and Ensemble Festival.

The competition included 102 solo and 50 ensemble performances.

At the high school level, the festival is a regional competition for student musicians to qualify for the state-level competition.

Student performances were graded by qualified judges in their categories as superior, excellent or good and were critiqued to help students improve their future performances.

The top superior performance from each category advanced to the state contest, where they will compete against the other 21 regional winners in 29 solo and 14 ensemble categories.

Up to 16 students are in an ensemble.

Peninsula students attending the competition are listed by their schools. They are:

Port Angeles High School

Port Angeles will send seven soloists and seven ensembles to the state competition.

Orchestra director Ron Jones estimated that 75 students would compete.

They will show off their skill in a free Showcase Concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., said Doug Gailey, Port Angeles band director.

Solists are Jeremy Choe on cello, John Doster on baritone, Jeffrey Mordecai-Smith on clarinet, Natalie Tagg on flute/piccolo, Michael Helwick on string bass and vocalists Elizabeth Brackett, mezzo soprano, and Hope Chamberlain, soprano.

Ensembles are the PA Brass Choir, large brass; Bozich Feeley Duet, small brass; Hisakata Ensemble, large mixed-vocal; PAndemonium, large percussion; the Port Angeles High School Chamber Orchestra, large strings; the Turine Trio, small strings; and Vocal Unlimited Women!, large vocal.

Hennessey, a senior, did not apply to compete as a soloist this year but did qualify for the state competition as a member of a string trio, Jones said Tuesday.

Many of the competitions Hennessey has taken part in do not allow winners to return, Jones said.

Until a week before the competition, the violinist thought last Saturday’s festival was one of those, he said.

Sequim High School

Two Sequim High School soloists and an instrumental ensemble qualified for state competition.

The soloists are Haleigh Harrison, a soprano, and Hillary Smith on alto saxophone.

Polarbear Tuesday, small woodwinds, was the instrumental ensemble.

Port Townsend High School

Three soloists qualified to go to state competition from Port Townsend High School.

They are Renada Walcome on the piano, Forest Walker on the viola and Rinnah Becker on the violin.

Chimacum High School

Max Peet of Chimacum High qualified for two positions in the state competition, on the snare drum and on mallet percussion.

Peet was the only musician in the region to qualify for state for more than one category.

Students from Stevens Middle School, Sequim Middle School and Blue Heron Middle School performed but did not qualify for state competition.

There were no entries from Forks High School this year.

Forks music teacher Erika Rudnicki said Wednesday that she expects Forks students to take part in the competition in 2014.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 31. 2013 5:32PM
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