Nine band members qualify for state competition

Joseph Richmiller, Staff Writer

Nine Members of the Milford band have qualified for seven events in an upcoming statewide competition.  In total, eight members will be preparing to perform on March 23rd at Rochester Stony Creek High school.

Rachel Andrud, James Lumsden, Nate Zielinski, Guy Griffith, Joey Kingstad, Madison Sneed, Andrew Mikolaizyk, And Alexis Wickham have all qualified and are attending the competition.  The final member to qualify, Kim Bottenberg, is unfortunately unable to attend.

 Band competitions are an oxymoron, as one does not compete against other performers directly; each band is graded based on performance. At the District level competition, which occurred on Feb. 2 and 3 at Hartland High School, performers were graded on a scale of one to five, one being the best. In order to qualify for States, a performer or ensemble must receive a perfect score, a Division I rating.  Members performed a rehearsed piece before an expert judge.
“These Students have represented the band and Milford High School incredibly well in front of the judges” said Katy  Sare, the Milford band director. “The students have practiced this outside of class, many, many hours outside of school.”

Guy Griffith is a senior member of the band, and one of the members heading to states. Guy plays many instruments, but he will be playing his trumpet as a soloist. The state competition is judged harder, and expanded in many ways for soloists. The grading scale also changes.  The scale is out of 100, with it being divided up as 50 percent coming from a rehearsed piece, 25 percent coming from performing memorized musical scales, and the last 25 percent coming from sight reading. Sight reading is being given a never before seen piece of music for one minute, and then being expected to play it perfectly.  “It’s as hard as it sounds,”  Guy readily admitted. 

Guy is preparing extensively for his event.   “Going to states is exciting, but I’m more looking forward to being rated.” Guy shared a video of the judge’s response to his playing at Districts, where he was praised for outstanding technique, and a lyrical quality to his playing and that he was “the most complete trumpet player to walk in the room”. His performance was recorded and can be found at the beginning  of this article.       

What comes after states? According to Ms. Sare, Events that receive very high solo scores, or are selected as outstanding ensembles can then be nominated for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, or MYAF, held in Kalamazoo in May.  There soloists will perform with their pieces accompanied by an orchestra; outstanding ensembles may perform their pieces again as they had before; and many of these top students will be selected for a large Honors Band or Orchestra. 

The competition is March 23rd, at Rochester Stony Creek High School, over a month away, and the participants are diligently preparing their pieces, preparing to represent Milford high School at States.