By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Beyond the first three places in each category of the Solo and Ensemble Competition, no further places were awarded.
The following musicians and ensemble received cumulative superior ratings in the contest: Michael Helwick, Forrest Walker, Haleigh Harrison, Jeremy Choe, the Turine Trio, Rinnah Becker and Elizabeth Brackett.
Music students from three North Olympic Peninsula high schools made a strong showing at the Washington State Solo and Ensemble Contest, including three top-10 finishers.
Port Angeles High School's Chamber Orchestra earned third place in the state out of 22 large string ensembles that performed for a panel of judges at the contest at Central Washington University in Ellensburg on April 26.
Port Townsend High School had two students who finished in the top 10.
Michael Helwick took eighth place in the string bass solo category, and Forest Walker was 10th in the viola solo category.
“It was a very strong group,” said Port Angeles orchestra director Ron Jones of all the competitors.
Any one of the ensembles at the contest could have taken first on any given weekend at the competition that was first introduced in 1998, he said.
“The level of performance has improved significantly, and at any time, any group can jump up to first place,” he said.
Jones noted that the third-place win evens out the Port Angeles chamber orchestra's collection of state trophies, which now includes three first-place, three second-place and three third-place trophies.
All of the Port Angeles string instrumentalists who played solos at the competition received a “superior” rating from judges, Jones said.
In most cases, the first-place soloist was clearly the winner, he added, but many of the remaining competitors were somewhat evenly matched, and on any other weekend, the results could be reversed.
The orchestra finished behind an octet from Olympia High School and the “Bouncing Czechs” from Roosevelt High School in Seattle.
Other Peninsula student entries in the state event were:
■ Haleigh Harrison of Sequim High School, 11th in the vocal soprano category.
■ Jeremy Choe of Port Angeles High, 12th in the cello solo category.
■ The Turine Trio, Port Angeles High, 14th in the small strings category.
■ Rinnah Becker, Port Townsend High, 15th in the violin category.
■ Elizabeth Brackett, Port Angeles High, 16th in the mezzo soprano solo category.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.