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Huntley choir kids compete at IHSA Solo and Ensemble Contest

Members of Vocal Fusion perform as an ensemble (F. Losbanes).

Students of Huntley High School’s bands and choirs traveled to Harvard High School to compete in the IHSA Solo/Ensemble Contest on March 4. Of the 163 entries, 122 of them earned a rating of Division I and 41 Division II ratings.

Performances in the vocal category ranged from duets and quartets, to solos and the Madrigal Choir, which consisted of singers from Master Singer’s. Students were allowed to perform in both solos and ensemble pieces.

The vocal solo performances were judged on several qualities, which included tonal quality, intonation, rhythm, technique, interpretation of the piece, diction, and overall performance/appearance. In addition, students performing solos were required to have mastered several scales and triads from memory.

Ensembles were judged on similar standards, in addition to balance and blend of all voices. No matter the performance, a majority gave the students feedback on their performances, including what they did well and what to work on.

According to senior Ciara Delamerced, the judge’s feedback is crucial in growing as a vocal performer.

“They taught us how to feel our music,” Delamerced said. “It’s been really beneficial to hear what they think about us as performers, whether that be wearing more facial expressions or doing gestures.

Once they give the feedback, the judges dismiss the groups and add up the scores in each of the categories in which the performances were judged against. The sum of the scores determines which division they fall under.

The highest scores go to Division I, in which the performers are awarded a gold IHSA pin. Division II qualifiers earn a silver pin and Division III qualifiers earn bronze pins.

According to Choir Director Nancy Cross, the pieces that have the highest chances of being successful lean more towards the folk, art, and foreign language genres.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape because we have a lot of students working on very commendable pieces,” Cross said. “We’ve got a couple of Italian songs and even a German solo as well.”

In addition to these types of songs, Cross and Delamerced believe that the Solo and Ensemble concert last Thursday gave the performers an edge that made them stronger competitors in the competition.

“I think that concert was very beneficial to the students because it showed them where they were as far as performance readiness goes,” Cross said. “The concert was scarier than the contest, so if they got through that then they’re able to get through anything.”

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