Band and orchestra confident for regionals

Orchestra, band members prepared for Regional Music Competition


Olivia Percich

Practicing — Concert tuba player, Noah Stussie, plays in preparation for the Regional Music Competition.

By Connor Schmaus , Staff Writer

April is ensemble competition season as Lawrence High’s music groups prepare for the regional small and large group competition.

Every year, various band, orchestra and choir groups perform against Kansas City and Topeka area schools in both large group and small ensemble groups.

The symphonic band and wind ensemble will be performing a pre-festival concert as a makeshift dress rehearsal. The March 29 concert will act as a filler concert between the start of March and the final May performance. Some band members also plan to perform in other groups in addition to the whole group.

Sophomore Jared Cote will participate in three other groups.

“I’m performing in a brass quintet with April Hodges, Megan Towle, Kara Smith, and John Ely,” Cote said. “I’m also performing in a ‘trumpet choir’ with all the Trumpets in wind ensemble, and I’m performing a solo piece.”

Symphonic orchestra is one of the groups that will be performing at the competition. Returning members have high hopes for this year.

“I’m pretty confident in our music department to get a lot of 1’s,” sophomore Jack Foster said.
Foster participated in a chamber orchestra and a string quartet at last year’s competition, and will compete in the same groups this year. The students practice multiple times a week after school and in class, but sometimes organization before the event can be difficult.

“[It’s enjoyable] for the most part.” Foster said. “It’s fun for the challenge but organizing is stressful.”
Students from other orchestras will compete as well, but it’s challenging for freshman ensembles to practice because they include students from both freshman orchestra classes. “Having ensemble members in the same class and having experienced the competition once before is a nice change of pace from freshman year”, sophomore Aidin Manning said.

“Last year I was in a violin ensemble, like this year, but since we are all in the same class this year I think it will be easier to practice and work together,” she said. “Last year I was really scared, but this year I’m more confident because I’ve done it before. I think we will be prepared when the time comes. I’m pumped.”

Though some are feeling more prepared than they did at this time last year, they’re still practicing to perfect their pieces.

“We’ve been working fairly hard on [our] songs but we still have some spots we need to work on,” sophomore violist Madeline Johnson said.

Students enjoy the event not only for the competition, but for the opportunity to perform and receive critiques from respected judges. Students also enjoy the individual pieces.

“I’m super stoked about our Beethoven piece,” Foster said.

With a history of scoring 1’s and 2’s, the LHS music department is expected to go far yet again in this competition. But in the end, Cote said, the experience is what really matters.
“It allows you to grow as a player,” he said.