Bainbridge High School musicians struck a chord with judges at a the recent state music competition.
Three Spartan musicians won medals at Washington State Music Educators Association’s State Solo and Ensemble Contest in Ellensburg.
The saxophone duet of BHS juniors Kevin McCann on soprano sax and Henry Brown on alto sax, accompanied by senior Jack Friedman on the piano, won the State Small Woodwinds Ensemble Competition for their performance of “Duo Concertante Op. 55” by Jean-Baptiste Singelee; the three earned unanimous superior ratings from judges.
Performers at the competition were assessed by three judges who scored each performance as either good, excellent or superior; with superior being the highest possible rating. According to the contest rules, to score as superior, the performance must be at “the highest level of artistry and technical proficiency that can be expected of a high school student.”
The following day, Brown successfully defended his title as Washington’s top tenor sax man with his performance of William Schmidt’s “Sonata for Tenor Saxophone.” Brown again received superior ratings from the judges for what the junior regarded as his all-time best performance of the piece.
“The Schmidt Sonata involves many fast runs that aren’t locked in time with the piano and compound time signatures,” Brown said.
“It can be difficult to balance playing musically with staying focused on the tricky parts of the piece. I feel that my performance was a success because I focused on playing expressively even through the tough phrases,” Brown added.
McCann also took third place in the state for tenor saxophone, with unanimous superior ratings as well.
“Overall, all my performances, solos and ensemble, went very well,” McCann said.
“I was able to take what I had practiced in preparation for solo and ensemble and perform each piece how I had planned,” he added.
McCann knew there was a lot riding on his performance, but preparation and focus played a big role in helping him to stave away the performance anxiety associated with such a big event, he said.
“I knew that dealing with nerves was going to be the most difficult part of the performance, but by preparing the pieces well before, I was able to prevent the majority of it and focus on performing.”
Also competing at the state competition were Sarah Jung on violin and Megan Rideout-Redeker on clarinet.
Just having the opportunity to compete at the state-level is an accomplishment for young musicians. To get to the state championships, musicians must endure an intensely competitive landscape of talented performers, with nearly 15,000 participants competing just at the district level.