Solo and ensemble throughout the years


For the 2017 solo and ensemble event, Sabrina Hagler (12), Joshua Jimmerson (alumni), and Michael Blaise (12) put together a trumpet trio. 2017 was the last year solo and ensemble was held at ABAC. before it was moved to Lee County. “Our performance went good. We got a superior,” Hagler said.

For band students, solo and ensemble is an event to look forward to every Spring. Students get to have more control in that they can choose a solo, duet, or ensemble arrangement to perform by themselves. They can play a solo piece, or perform in an ensemble with a group of friends. Their performance is judged and given a rating, using the superior to poor rating system used at other band competitions. Several school’s band programs participate in this event. For the last two years, solo and ensemble has been hosted at Lee County High School, moving here from ABAC in Tifton.

Michael Blaise (alumni) has a passion for music, playing the trumpet alongside other instruments.

Through the two years Lee has hosted this event, several band students have continued to see success in their performances, often ranking at the top. Michael Blaise (alumni), a trumpet player who graduated with the class of 2018, chose to work on a solo with a piano accompaniment to perform for his last year of solo and ensemble. The piece, entitled “Home Sweet Home” by Jean Baptiste Arban, was demanding, requiring precise musical technicality, but through hours of practicing, Blaise received a superior on the solo.

“It went really well,” Blaise said. “My trumpet tutor happened to be my judge, and he said he was impressed with it considering he didn’t work on it with me.”

Wanting to perform an arrangement that was both unique and still pleasant to listen to, oboe player

Maddie McMickle (10) and Jackson Carlstrom (11) are excited after a performance well done for their judge.

Maddie McMickle (10) and tuba player Jackson Carlstrom (11) performed a duet at last year’s solo and ensemble. Oboe and tuba duets are uncommon, but McMickle and Carlstrom found a duet written just for the two instruments. The piece they selected was “Pinocchio Portraits” by Sy Brandon, a 10 movement piece depicting characters and scenes from the Pinocchio story. The two worked on the piece during after school rehearsals whenever they could stay after school. At solo and ensemble, they performed movements 1, 2, 5, 9, and 10. The duet was given a superior rating, receiving four A+ letter grades and four A letter grades from the judge, for a definite superior.

“I thought our duet went great,” McMickle said. “I had so much fun doing it, and the judge really liked it, and we got a really great score.”

This year’s solo and ensemble was held on April 20, and saw many students from Lee returning. Several percussionists signed up to perform in a percussion ensemble. The piece they selected was entitled “Bombastix” by Chris Crockarell.  Ariana Ukaonu (10), Ashlee James (10), Maggie Mann (11), Ethan Fetterley (12), Kaden Douglas (11), Kevin Kendrick (12), Will Dozier (12), Emily Young (11), Christina Wynn (11), and Paris Ditty (10) were all a part of the percussion ensemble, with some of them being percussionists in the wind ensemble, and some of them being members of the drumline. The percussion ensemble received a superior score from their judge with straight A’s.

“It was a fun experience,” Douglas said. “We all had a good time working to make music.”

Hunter Davis (9) prepares for his solo performance.

Returning to perform another solo, tuba player Hunter Davis (9) performed “Sonata No. 1 in F major” with a piano accompanist by Benedetto Marcello. The piece was a step up from his solo last year, requiring more advanced techniques. But, like last year, Davis prepared for solo and ensemble with hard work and dedication. And his work paid off when he received a superior from his judge with straight A’s.

“I am so happy about the results. I had a good time at this year’s solo and ensemble,” Davis said.

With several students receiving superior scores both last year and this year, solo and ensemble at Lee County High School has been as successful as ever for band students.