CF musicians shine at solo/ensemble festival

Annually, Cedar Falls High School pushes its students to partake in the IHSMA Solo and Ensemble Festival, where they will perform music either by themselves or with a group. This year, the students traveled to Waterloo East for performances and judging on April 15. A handful of students from both band and choir participated in the event, all working hard to practice their music to perfection. 

Center 4, the saxophone quartet, Center 5, the trombone quartet and Center 6, with marimba soloist Kate Galyen all received Outstanding Performance Awards, with Josie Barry, Alex Christ, Isabelle Cuhat and Britain Atkins in Center 4, and Kristen Engelhardt, Liam Hendrickson, Alex Stoner, and Henry Rouw making up Center 5. 

For some of these students, this was their first event, and for others, their last performance. Here are the thoughts of the students who participated and their reflections on their performances. 


  1. Ivy Hutchison (sophomore)

Treble/Bass Chamber Choir

“My experience was very positive, I’m happy with the result of my ensemble’s performance, and I am looking forward to solo/ensemble festival next year.”


  1. TK Wright (sophomore) 

“Fata La Parte” by Juan del Encina and “We Sing And Chant It” by Boston Camerata, Joel Cohen and Thomas Morley

“I think it was a great experience, performing for judges and getting comments on how we can do better on the next performance. Getting to watch everyone else’s solos/performances was a great memory I made getting to hear other people sing or play their instrument. I do wish I stayed longer or went earlier so I could watch other people perform. I will be doing it again next year, but I will be doing maybe a duet or quartet. I have learned from the comments made and have had someone tell me that doing a smaller group is a much better way to make friends and grow as a singer or performer.”


  1. Rebekah Chagdes (sophomore)

“Who Has The Wind” by Carol Kelley and “A New Alleluia” by Jay Althouse

“It’s always scary to stand in front of someone whose job is to literally judge you, plus there are your classmates, family and friends in that room. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I look forward to next year where I hope to majorly improve.”


  1. Alex Christ (sophomore)

“Elegie” by Gabriel Faure, “Sailor’s Hornpipe” by Henry Cowell, “Serenade for Strings” by Elgar

“I had an amazing experience doing solo and ensemble. It was really fun to play for the judge, my family and my teachers and see all of the hard work pay off. This was my second time doing this, and one thing I did much better was my preparations leading up to the festival. This year I was a lot more prepared, and it showed, as I had an amazing day. I was also more comfortable playing for the judge; I wasn’t nervous like I was last year. I was focused on playing beautifully and having fun, and it paid off as I ended the day receiving two outstanding performer awards. I will certainly be doing solo and ensemble again next year.”


  1. Grace Roth (sophomore)

Five total events with two vocal solos (“Soldier, Soldier, Will You Marry Me” by Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus and “Wiegenlied” by Giscard Rasquin and Johannes Brahms

“This was my first time, and I felt it was a great learning experience. I think I grew a lot as a singer, and I think I am more confident now singing in front of people. I am also really proud of all the hard work I did and getting a D1 rating.”


  1. Taylor Johnson (junior)

“Fantasie” by Francis Thome, “An Elizabethan Songbook” by Eric Ewazen and “Sonata from Die Bankelsangerlieder”

“It was a good experience. I played last year, and I plan to play again next year, and I didn’t really notice many differences from last year, but I did notice that the times for multiple centers still managed to get behind schedule.”


  1. Klara Hornung (junior)

“Concerto no. 2 (in g major) op. 13 3rd movement”

“I hate doing solo/ensemble contests. It fills me with so much anxiety I can barely breathe. Despite that, I do it and will continue to do so so I can get better as a violinist. I also made a promise to myself in sixth grade I will do solo contest each year I’m able to. I didn’t really notice any differences from last time. It was still the nerve-racking event I’d participated in before. I suppose it was a bit easier since I had an idea of where to go, unlike last year going into it blind.”


  1. Sarah Campbell (senior)

“Stuff” by James Grant

“I am always very nervous when performing in front of a judge; however, I did a solo and ensemble this year, and doing both really made my nerves lessen. I have done this before, and as a tuba player, I find that playing solos without an accompanist makes the process much less stressful because I was only responsible for myself and my playing. Overall, I think it is a good experience and lets you play what you want, learn new things and improve on your respective musical interests.”

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