Solo and Ensemble creates a beautiful melody at OHS


Miles Yost

Oscar Terrell, bassist and 2nd alternate for state, listens as a judge comments on his performance.

On January 28, 2023, WMEA’s annual Solo and Ensemble district festival took place at Olympia High School, spanning nearly 8 hours. In total, there were over 200 entries, from individual solos to ensembles with more than 10 people. 

The highest distinction a musician can receive is a 1 (superior), which also puts them into consideration for the statewide competition. Overall, everyone did well, with mostly superior and excelling ratings and only a handful of goods. 

However, in the trombone category, freshman Lucas Dyvig was the only musician to receive a superior, automatically making it to state. Dyvig himself said he was very surprised.

When asked how he felt about competing at the high school level for the first time, he stated that it was “a bit stressful knowing that it’s judged, but exciting knowing that [he’ll] get to perform for family and friends.” After hearing multiple performances, he described them as very good.

As for how he’ll be preparing for state, Dyvig said he’s excited and is “going to spend a lot of time making sure everything in [his] piece is as good as [he] can get it to be.”

Another surprise was last year’s orchestra student teacher, Jonathan Spatola-Knoll, as the piano judge. Spatola-Knoll chose sophomore Chloe Song to represent the district at state.

Song, with 6 entries total, described her preparations as “really overwhelming… and requir[ing] hours of practice every single day.” And while “solo practice was the most tedious out of all, chamber was fun and very low pressure” because she “really enjoy[s] playing with lots of other people in an orchestra.” 

“Fishy Five,” a quintet consisting of Song herself, violinist Maria Aurelio, violist Augie Triebel, cellist Scott Hermann, and bassist Kalee Verd, will be going to state, while Song’s “Olympiano Trio” was selected as the first alternate. This shocked Song. 

“Our trio practiced almost 3 times as much as the quintet did; we worked super hard. Both got really good results, though, and I’m happy that we get to go to state.” 

Since this is Song’s second year making it to the state competition, she feels she will “be a lot more prepared” because she’ll “actually know what’s happening this year.” She described last year’s state experience as fun and “one of the best days of [her] life,” also citing it as a source of motivation. 

“I think it made me work harder because I knew what state was like and really wanted to be able to go again.” 

And as intense as this event is, it’s not just about competition for Song– she is also adamant about supporting her fellow musicians. “Maria, Scott, and Kalee all got to state with their solos too, so I’m excited to see them perform if my schedule allows!”

Ultimately, Song learned that hard work pays off. “I think every time I wasn’t practicing piano, I was practicing my violin and practically lived in my piano room for hours. It’s what always gets me going because I know that hard work will not betray me. I think Solo and Ensemble proved that even more.” It is no wonder she has been so successful. 

With 14 entries officially state-bound and many others selected as first or second alternates, OHS is proud to be home to such talented musicians. Look forward to April’s competition in Ellensburg, where winners from 22 regions will strive for state titles.