Solo and Ensemble 2019

Since 2013, the Florida Bandmaster Solo and Ensemble Music Competition has taken place at Hillel. This program allows musicians from all-ages and schools in Florida to compete and get professionally judged by a critic. This professional musician then gives constructive criticism regarding the child’s musicianship. This feedback can range from musicianship to the way the student played the piece. Middle and high schoolers are able to participate if Scheck Hillel’s band director, Matt Villa, gives them approval. The student then has to dedicate a great deal of time and effort to prepare for the performance.

This year, students received even more preparation thanks to band assistant, Pablo Gil. During class time, students met with Mr. Gil to improve the quality of the piece while receiving feedback. Mr. Gil specializes in woodwind instruments, which include the flute, clarinet, and saxophone, meaning that students were able to receive even more help due to his personal experience. “Even though I play the trumpet, which is a brass instrument, Mr. Gil was able to help me comprehend the difficult rhythms of my solo. Going to him during class really helped improve my score, and it was extra practice for me,” says Raquel DiMitri, a senior, regarding getting help from the band assistant. “He really helped me dissect the piece, even if he couldn’t physically play the same instrument as me.”

Just like the previous year, junior Joi Alon and senior Jayme Podgorowiez have been chosen to represent Scheck Hillel at the state level of the competition. A student can reach the states level if they play a level “5” or higher. The scale of music is out of 7, making each piece extremely challenging. They received the highest score, a Superior, at states last year. They aim to do the same at this year’s performance. This year, states are on March 22nd, in Sanford, Florida, making it a long drive to victory for the two musicians.

A record number of 32 students in band performed this year. Not to mention, a record number of 22 students earned a Superior rating, the highest score. These record-breaking numbers please Mr. Villa, as he is  the one who has been pushing everyone to try their hardest for the solo performances. Due to the commitment of the students, the help of the band director and assistant, and everyone’s all-around passion for music, this year’s competition has been outstanding. The numbers are sure to increase each year as the band program grows.

Below are the names of the students who participated in the competition, along with their score.

Superior Rating (highest score)

  • Noah Levine, alto saxophone
  • Valerie Nicholas, flute
  • Hannah Stern, trombone
  • David Almog, trumpet
  • Zachary Lemmer, flute
  • Joi Alon, alto saxophone
  • Malvina DiMitri, flute
  • Amit Miara, flute
  • Jayme Podgorowiez, clarinet
  • Mykhaylo Rafalskyy, euphonium
  • Julia Luck, flute
  • Ellie Esquenazi, clarinet
  • Eyal Vaxman, trumpet
  • Emily Rodman, clarinet
  • Eli Gelb, tenor saxophone
  • Daniel Abbo, clarinet
  • Leonardo Bentata, trumpet
  • Eva Gelb, clarinet
  • Ben Ratzker, alto saxophone
  • Orel Mizrahi, percussion
  • Sadie Lemmer, flute
  • Eduardo Novodzelsky, french horn

Excellent Rating (second highest score)

  • Arie Lisker, trombone
  • Jonathan Abbo, alto saxophone
  • Eitan Garzon, clarinet
  • Raquel DiMitri, trumpet
  • Danielle Waijman, trumpet
  • Michael Berenstein, alto saxophone
  • Salomon Delarosa, trumpet
  • Mirah Zack, trumpet
  • Yitzchak Lopez, alto saxophone

Good (third highest score)

  • Joshua Schmutter, alto saxophone



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