For the third consecutive year, Scheck Hillel band students who played a level 5 or higher (on a 7 level scale) during the Florida Bandmaster Solo and Ensemble Music Competition had the opportunity to move on to the States level of the program. This competition requires every student to perform a solo on their instrument, accompanied by a piano player. Every year, Scheck Hillel hires Kirk Whipple to be the accompanist for Solo and Ensemble.
This year, two students were able to perform intricate solos that received the top score, Superior, at Districts. Joi Alon and Jayme Podgorowiez, for the second time in a row, travelled to States to participate in a more competitive Solo and Ensemble. The competition was held at Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida, making the trip much longer than the previous year. When asked about the environment of the school at the time, Jayme Pogorowiez states, “It was just amazing to walk around the venue and see all the talented and dedicated musicians from across the state. It’s a powerful experience.” Thousands of kids performed their songs in front of professional judges throughout the course of three days. Jayme and Joi played their pieces on Friday, March 22, accompanied by Kirk Whipple.
Joi played for James Bishop, Associate Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Music at Eastern Florida State College, where he conducts the Wind Ensemble, the Community Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra, and the Jazz Ensemble. Bishop is also Instructor of Saxophone at Stetson University. Jayme played for Mitchell Estrin, Professor of Clarinet at the University of Florida, Music Director, and Conductor of the University of Florida Clarinet Ensemble. The two girls were assigned judges that played and understood their respected instruments. They both received an Excellent score, the second-highest ranking one could get. When asked about the experience as a whole, Jayme Podgorowiez states, “I really am proud of both Joi and my accomplishments. We have both learned and grown so much from this experience and I am very thankful and honored to have been able to participate. I am also very thankful for the guidance of Mr. Villa and his support in everything we do.” Every year, more and more band students participate in the Solo and Ensemble competition, and hopefully, in the future, more kids have the opportunity to perform at States level.