North Central Wisconsin band students take part in virtual music competition

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 5:20 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - It’s one of the biggest events for Wisconsin solo and ensemble band members. The Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) hosted its district and state music festival virtually this year. Despite not being in person, the WSMA boasted 16,000 divisional submissions and 4,000 state submissions for solo and ensemble musicians.

“All in all over 20,000 videos will be adjudicated by a team of about 275 master teachers,” said WSMA Executive Director Laurie Felenz.

To put in a submission, students send in a video of them playing and a picture of the piece of music they are playing off of.

“It’s no different than how you would upload to social media just on the district solo and ensemble platform,” said Merrill High School Band teacher Elli Wilk.

Submitting a video has its perks. One of them is you can redo your video if you mess up since you aren’t live.

“The beautiful thing about this year being that they recorded their solos is that they had more than one chance to do it to get it right,” said D.C. Everest High School band teacher Joe Finnegan.

“We take advantage of the situation we’re given, and I’m happy that we took that opportunity,” Wilk said.

Sending videos also has drawbacks. Since students can rerecord videos, judges hold them to a higher standard.

“I would have the notion that this student had the opportunity to rerecord if they chose to on their solo or ensemble,” Wilk said.

“The evaluation can be much more thorough, as they can go back and listen to the recording more than once,” Finnegan said.

Friday is the last day for submissions to the state level if students qualify. But north central Wisconsin teachers believe getting the chance to play for others is worth more than an overall score.

“I’m just proud they went through the process to make themselves better,” Finnegan said.

For more information on the WSMA click here.

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