BHS students earn top ratings at music festival
Angie Bacon went into her bassoon solo performance Saturday thinking she was prepared. But her nerves got the better of her, and her performance didn't go as well as she had anticipated.
"I got really hot and was shaking. I was really nervous," the Baldwin High School senior said. "I didn't breathe anywhere I was supposed to breathe. I wasn't thinking about the music, I was thinking about trying to make my hands stop shaking."
Bacon's solo at the annual Kansas State High School Activities Association Regional Music Festival earned her a II rating, the second highest rating possible, but one she said she was lucky to earn.
"I think the judge felt sorry for me," she said.
Whether Bacon is correct in her belief or if the judge truly thought she earned her II rating might never be known. But both BHS band instructor Will Cooper and BHS vocal teacher Jodie Eldridge know that all of the students who performed in Saturday's festival at Baker University worked hard and have the high ratings to prove it.
"This year the kids were real prepared," Cooper said. "I think they worked very hard on it, and that preparation is what gets you your rating."
"I was very pleased with the way the students prepared and rehearsed," Eldridge said. "I felt they represented Baldwin High School in a very professional manner."
At regional music festival, vocal and instrumental soloists and ensembles perform pieces that have been prepared in advance in front of a judge. The judge then rates the performance -- a I being top rating, a V the lowest -- based on a set of standards.
"Performances have to be almost flawless," Eldridge said, "or a one or two will escape you."
Out of the 28 vocal and instrumental solos and ensembles that performed at the regional music festival, 12 received I ratings. Those students -- nearly 60 of them -- now perform at state competition April 24 in Andover.
"Usually we have about 40 kids go to state," Cooper said, "so I feel pretty good about how we did this year."
An additional 15 solos and ensembles received II ratings.
"I felt we really performed well," Eldridge said. "We had a nice balance of ones and twos."
The high ratings received by the BHS students didn't come without preparation. Both Eldridge and Cooper said not only did the students rehearse during class, but they often spent hours before and after school practicing their pieces as well.
"It's a lot of individual effort," Cooper said. "The kids are really putting it together themselves."
BHS senior Richard Jarvis, who performed a trumpet solo as well as in a brass ensemble, said he would spend an extra three to four hours a week running through his performance pieces and as well as working on technique building.
Jarvis' work paid off. He received I ratings for both his solo and ensemble performances.
"My solo, I probably had the best of most of my practice runs," he said. "It was pretty exciting to see that one rating next to my name."
Cooper said the music festival was a good opportunity for students to use their music education.
"I think it's a kind of measuring stick," he said. "This is our state assessment."
"The rating is not what's really important," she said. "The preparation and musical experience is the important benefit to be gained."