Mercy Orchestra members prepare for Solo and Ensemble competition

As you saunter down the drama hallway, you peer into the drama studio on your left to see an Acting I class.  As you walk further down the hallway, past Mrs. Sill’s famous wall of prior performances and through the hallway’s double doors, you expect to hear choir students preparing for the annual Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah, but instead the hall is silent. Well, almost silent. You can barely make out the sound of instruments. As you enter the practice rooms, the music becomes clear.

In the left practice room, junior Kaela Brown practices her flute solo, “Romance”  by Georges Brun. She, along with numerous other members of Mercy’s orchestra, are preparing to perform for judges at the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association’s Solo and Ensemble in February.

“Since I picked a challenging piece, it’s going to require a lot of time and practicing over the next three months,” said Brown.

Band and orchestra students from across the nation compete in Solo and Ensemble each year. Judges grade soloists’ performances based on qualities such as intonation, dynamics, and musicality.

Performers receiving a division one rating will advance to State Solo and Ensemble in March where they will perform their piece again, along with scales and sight reading. Those who receive a division one rating at State Solo and Ensemble may be chosen to perform in the State Honor Band or Orchestra.

Just as sport teams practice and compete, orchestra students work equally as hard to perfect their musical talents. Check out this video of Mercy’s orchestra preparing for the Christmas Concert! The concert is in Mercy’s auditorium on December 15 at 2 p.m.