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Knight Times

Knight Times

Shelby Johnson: Solo and Ensemble Festival Performer


The Solo and Ensemble Festival gives high school musicians involved in their school’s music programs the opportunity to perform a piece of their choice in front of a judge. They can choose to perform a solo, with or without a piano accompanist, or they can form an ensemble of two or more students within the same instrument group. The festival is available to all high school students in band, choir, and orchestra. The students will then perform their piece at Tier I, the first round where a judge will score them based on their technique, musicality, presentation, and more. They will be scored out of 100 points, with 90-100 being ranked Superior. Those who rank Superior will advance to Tier II, which is a video submission of the same piece played in Tier I. Advancing beyond Tier II allows soloists or a group to perform at one of Arizona’s three public universities at the All-State Festival. Senior Shelby Johnson auditioned playing the flute at the 2024 All State Solo and Ensemble Festival. She played Concertino for Flute and Piano by Cécile Chaminade and scored a superior rating, which advanced her to the next round, Tier II. This is an incredible opportunity because Shelby will be able to perform at her future college, the University of Arizona.

I had the opportunity to interview Shelby regarding her experience at the Ensemble Festival and being a flute player overall. She advanced to Tier II because she received a Superior score in Tier I. This would be an incredible opportunity because she will be attending the University of Arizona in the fall and would love to perform on the stage of her future college. She expressed, “This achievement has strengthened my confidence with performing solos. I have learned many techniques about playing a solo, including different stylistic and musical choices when performing alone. Also, I have been able to experience performing with an accompanist, which is a huge opportunity for any musician. I was inspired to professionally record the same piece I played for Solo and Ensemble, and I will use this project throughout my future opportunities within music.” A performance such as this requires a lot of effort and preparation, which is why Shelby was dedicated to practicing her piece and perfecting it as much as she could. Shelby mentioned, “I experienced some challenges with certain parts of the piece, including the faster sections that required advanced technique. It is very easy for my fingers to slip while playing these sections, and I would repeat these parts over and over to make sure I was practicing it correctly and to avoid future mistakes. I also took private lessons with my flute instructor once a week to improve on these difficult parts of the solo.” 

Shelby has worked extremely hard to accomplish all of her musical milestones and continues to display her breathtaking talents to the public. To continue her musical career, Shelby is considering minoring in music and plans to keep playing for the rest of her life. Thank you, Shelby, for being an outstanding role model for every person at ACP! I speak for everyone when I say you inspire us by being dedicated to what you are passionate about. Go Knights! 

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