Solo & Ensemble

Kaylie McConnell

While walking through the halls of East Kentwood during Solo & Ensemble, one is surrounded by some of the best musicians in the district. One hears the harmonic sound of the piano, mixed with the full voice of the cello as well as the screaming high pitch of the violin and the vibrant sound of the viola. Further down the hall, one hears the sonorous notes of the marimba and maybe even a muffled beat of a snare drum. Further, the soft melody of wind instruments, the piercing pitch of the piccolo, and the jazzy swing saxophone. Finally, the colored blare of the horns resonate through the halls.

  Musicians at Solo & Ensemble recognize people from music camps, performances, and groups such as the Holland Area Youth Symphony Orchestra. Even though they may not know them personally or talk to them much, they know that they all have the same goal in mind – to get a one rating and move on to state.

  Along with all of the sounds blending together, there is also a ton of anxiety floating in the hallways. West Ottawa’s musicians have been preparing for this moment since mid October. Many students have been using seminar time to transfer to band and orchestra to work with groups, work with the piano accompanists, and work on solos. At WO, it is always extremely difficult to find a place to practice, but during Solo & Ensemble, it is especially hard.

  “Every single space that we can possibly use is filled. All the practice rooms are full, the band and orchestra rooms are full, and all of the offices and storage rooms are full of kids practicing,” Instructor Chris Meyer said.

  Attending Solo & Ensemble is a must for musicians who want to improve their performance ability.

  “We’ve got 28 events going. There’s over 30 students involved. It’s a great way for students to challenge themselves and get some outside feedback on their performance,” Meyer said.

  All of these musicians are trying to perfect the little things, such as dynamics and intonation. They are also cleaning up any parts that don’t always work out perfectly.

  “Siena, the 1st violinist, has a syncopated rhythm while the rest of the quartet is on the beat and it is really hard to line up,” Sr. Ethan Heyboer said. Soph. Siena Radakovits’ free time has really been affected by this part in the piece. She’s been spending less time on Netflix and more time with her violin.  

  “I was having trouble with two measures of my music and I’ve worked on it for a couple of weeks now and I just couldn’t get it. I’ve been waking up earlier to practice in the morning with the metronome. Then it finally started working out. Now I’m just waiting to see if it works this weekend with the whole quartet,” Radakovits said.

  Walking into the performance room, that was the main thing the quartet was concerned about. As we played it, I remember looking over at Ethan seeing him with the biggest grin on his face because Sienna finally got it right. It sounded perfect.

  After the performance, Heyboer said, “Siena nailed all the hard parts which was really impressive. The judge was so excited too. It was great.”  


Congratulations to all of the musicians who participated in Solo & Ensemble. The students who received a “First Division Rating” qualify to go onto State Solo & Ensemble.


Receiving a “First Division Rating” for an excellent performance were:

Sophie Engels – Violin Solo

Mitchell Frauenheim – Violin Solo

Erin Magennis – Violin Solo

Siena Radakovitz – Violin Solo

Anna Smyk – Violin Solo

Alyssa Anderson – Viola Solo

Dominic Aquino – Cello Solo

Ethan Heyboer – Cello Solo

Austin Castillo – Alto Saxophone Solo

Abby Shepard – Alto Saxophone Solo

Julian Jimenez – Baritone Saxophone Solo

Hunter Sims – Trumpet Solo

Ben Hahn – Trombone Solo

Devon Balint – Snare Drum Solo

Drew Deur – Snare Drum Solo

Quincy Doenges – Snare Drum Solo, Marimba Solo

Avery Marzynski – Snare Drum Solo

Andrew Smyk – Snare Drum Solo, Marimba Solo

Ben Shumaker – Marimba Solo

Violin Duet – Isabelle McConkey, Emma VonHoltz

Violin Duet – Iris Swarthout, Sarah Olney

Violin / Viola Duet – Alyssa Anderson, Stephanie Ganzi

Violin / Flute Duet – Stephanie Ganzi, Maggie Neuman

Clarinet Duet – Mackenzie Koning, Amelia Blythe

Brass Duet – Aleah Hahn, Ben Hahn

Marimba Duet – Ben Shumaker, Sam Duckworth

Clarinet Trio – Amelia Blythe, Mackenzie Koning, Katherine Hoekstra

String Quartet – Alyssa Anderson, Hunter Ihrman, Stephanie Ganzi, Riley Vaara

String Quartet – Siena Radakovitz, Kaylie McConnell, Maddy Auby, Ethan Heyboer

Saxophone Quartet – Abby Shepard, Sean Nguyen, David Stanley, Mitchell Jones

Trombone Quartet – Ben Hahn, Camden Mangelsdorf, Huntar Genigeski, Matthew Moraw

Flute Quintet – Becca Bruins, Courtney Allen, Petra Braunius, Maggie Neuman, Lily Kilpatrick

Trombone Choir – Aiden Engle, Camden Mangelsdorf, Brianna Lee, Matthew Moraw, Huntar Genigeski, Daniel Gonzalez, Ben Hahn, Nate Moored, Johnathan Nguyen, Kevin Le

Woodwind Choir – Petra Braunius, Abby Shepard, Becca Bruins, Katherine Hoekstra, Amelia Blythe, Mackenzie Koning, Jessica Bracamonte, Maggie Neuman, Gretchen Schmitz, Mitchell Jones, Courtney Allen, Erin Jones, Sean Nguyen, Jessica Bernal, Libby Duistermars, Jessy DeVlieger, Rylan McCoy, Tim Cooke, David Stanley, Isabella Violante

Brass Choir – Sarah Cremin, Gage Deyarmond, Dante Miller, Topher Doman, Isaac Brinkman, Ben Hahn, Camden Mangelsdorf, Aleah Hahn, Alexis VanAelst, Rachael Pratt, Devon Davis, Huntar Genigeski, Matthew Moraw, Hunter Sims, Daniel Gonzalez

Percussion Chamber Ensemble – Jack Kleinjans, Sam Duckworth, Aaron Stefanovsky, Andrea Nguyen, Quincy Doenges, Andy Garcia, Nick Altamira, Drew Deur, Garrison Osborne, Devon Balint, Ben Shumaker

Percussion Chamber Ensemble – Austin Maung, John Jachalke, Jordan Crook, Ethan Stam, Braden Book, Miles Kent, Andrew Smyk, Andy Garcia, Jacob Stonick, Sonja Collins, Garrison Osborne, Kyle Wiersma, Aaron Stefanovsky, Andrea Nguyen, Jack Kleinjans, Avery Marzynski

Receiving a “Second Division Rating” for a good performance were:

Katie Frauenheim – Violin Solo

Alex Ky – Violin Solo

Kaylie McConnell – Violin Solo

Brigitte Morren – Violin Solo

Elizabeth Nguyen – Violin Solo

Iris Swarthout – Violin Solo

Joseph Kramer – Cello Solo

Courtney Allen – Flute Solo

Katherine Hoekstra – Clarinet Solo

Alexis VanAelst – Trumpet Solo

Hunter Ihrman – Cello Solo

Saxophone Duet – Ryan Bowker, Julian Jimenez

Violin Duet – Alex Ky, Andres Solorzano

Violin Duet – Maya Lee, Kathy Rodas

Violin Duet – Brigitte Morren, Summer Hoang

Violin Trio – Brigitte Morren, Summer Hoang, Breanna Bruechert

String Trio – Elizabeth Nguyen, Lisa Charlis, Luz Becerra

String Trio – Kaylee Comai, Elizabeth Hoekstra, Danielle Lozano