While most of Texas was grilling barbecue and splashing in the pool on Memorial Day, seven outstanding student musicians from the Sweetwater High School Band were participating in the UIL State Solo Contest. The competitors, along with accompanist Bonnie Walters, chaperones Riley and Judith Kitchens, and director Ross Grant, traveled to Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, where the top musicians from across Texas performed for judges.
âSince every competitor at state has already earned a first division at the region level, state is very tough,â explained junior Laura Duclos. âState judges are instructed to only award a few top ratings throughout a full day of performancesâ.
The students came home with seven medals, the most for Sweetwater in years. Sophomore clarinetist Crysten Ivy won a first-place solo medal, sophomore saxophonist Chase Scott won a second-place medal, and sophomore French hornist Steven Le also won a second-place medal. Winners of first division medals were clarinet quartet Crysten Ivy, Corynn Martin, Teresa Perez-Poe and Matt Gonzales. Brass quartet members Clay Kitchens, Stephen Shipp, Steven Le and Laura Duclos earned a second division.
State adjudicator Patricia Card commented in her constructive critique of Crysten Ivyâs solo, âGreat sound, good musical ideas. Wonderful dynamics and shapes to your phrases. You have solid technical control and memorization. You have a good understanding of this composition.â
Judge Anna Carney commented in her critique of the clarinet ensemble, âAll four of you have excellent tones. Your silent count-off is very professional. Great job with your upper register.â