Southeast students are set to participate in LPS Solo/Ensemble contest


Image by Lilly Beattie

Nicole Tinius, Editor-in-Chief

The annual Lincoln Public School’s (LPS) Solo and Ensemble contest is taking place Saturday, Feb. 20 where Lincoln Southeast High School (LSE) students are able to participate and showcase the hard work they’ve put into preparing their pieces for the judges. 

Margret Delaney, LSE’s Varsity and Freshmen orchestra conductor, has many students gearing up for this year’s Solo and Ensemble contest. Rowan Long (11) and Lilly Beattie (11) are just a few of the participants hoping to score a one as they both have in the past.

Scoring for the Solo and Ensemble event doesn’t rank students against each other, but rather gives them a rank of one through five, with one (honorable mention) being the highest and goal for many. 

Performers are judged in various categories such as intonation, balance and expression, each getting a certain amount of points for the category. The total amount of points dictates what score they get as the overall ranks reflects a certain amount of points. 

Any LPS student in high school is allowed to perform in the high school variant of the Solo and Ensemble contest. Participates play in front of a judge–with music or from memory–and get written or electronic feedback once scores are announced. 

Students can perform individually, with a duet partner or piano accompanist and even in a small ensemble where there may be five or more players. It’s allowed as long as all the participants are from the same school. 

Long, who will be participating for her third year now, is performing with senior violinist Cayden Gonzales. 

She describes how preparing for Solo and Ensemble this year has been difficult for the orchestra compared to past years. 

“It’s hard to find times to meet and it’s hard to meet in person… We both go to school in person different days of the week [so] we can’t use our orchestra period to practice like we could last year,” Long said.  

Beattie, who is playing with Makenna Addleman (11), has also found it quite challenging to get everyone together to practice, especially with their piano accompanist, Julie Eschliman. 

While preparing for an event like this in person would be ideal, Delaney explains how instrumentalists have found new ways to play together. 

“Students have been really creative in terms of using technology (facetime, etc) to connect with each other virtually – though it is still pretty tricky to rehearse virtually due to a lag in the sound. The best way to rehearse an ensemble is still in-person. I have also had more students request to use school practice spaces after school.  With students being groups A/B/C/Z that means that unless they’re in school on the same day – I can’t let students use time during class to prepare together as much as I have in past years,” Delaney said. 

Because of all of the new changes for players, preparing for the unknown and unusual year has proved to be nerve wracking. 

Compared to years in the past, Beattie said, “This time I am more nervous to perform because this year a lot of changes were made to Solo and Ensemble.” 

Differences that are featured this year include having a restricted audience of only two people for every performer, masks required for everyone in attendance and where students will perform.

“The biggest change for this year is the fact that all of the high schools are running their own event rather than having everyone perform at one host school,” Delaney said.

For LSE students, Solo and Ensemble performances will take place Saturday, Feb. 20 at LSE. Results will be announced electronically the same day, usually within an hour of their performance. 

While this year might look and feel different to years past, Long and Beattie are both excited to have the opportunity to still participate. 

“I think Solo and Ensemble is a good opportunity to perform and get feedback on your playing. It’s good practice with performing and competing,” Long said.