By Andi Bourne

SSHS musicians headed to State


April 11, 2019

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

The Seeley-Swan High School Band. Back (L-R): Jared Townsend and Klaire Kovatch. Front (L-R): Jayla Kauffman and Kinley Moore.

MISSOULA – Despite having only five choir members and four members in the band, Seeley-Swan High School musicians performed the most solos, duets and ensembles in the past several years at the District Music Festival April 5 and April 6. The band, five soloists, the brass duet and the brass/woodwind ensemble received a Superior rating. All the individuals and groups except the band will perform at the State Music Festival May 3 and May 4 in Helena. 

The District Music Festival is an opportunity for individuals and groups to perform in front of an adjudicator. Adjudicators are professional musicians who provided comments and feedback on the performance.

The SSHS Band and Choir each performed two prepared selections. They also were required to perform one piece they had never practiced, called sight-reading. The soloists, duets and small groups just performed their prepared piece.

The group and individual musicians received constructive feedback on their performance and a score. The score is based on several factors including: how well the group/soloists plays in tune; the accuracy of performance; interpretation of the music; balance and blend; age of student; the students' musical training and appropriate attire for the performance. The scores were Good, Excellent or Superior, with Superior being the top rating and Good being the lowest.


This year Shauna Anders was the piano accompanist for the choir and several of the solos. 

"I have appreciated her dedication and hard work as accompanist," said SSHS Music Director Sandy Abbott. 

Abbott said she was really pleased with the students' interest for taking on solos and ensembles and the work the students did in preparation for the District Music festival.

At the music festival, Abbott said the students represented SSHS well, they were very responsible and on time.

"It is a great group of students," said Abbott. "They all worked really hard."

Large group rating & judges' comments (April 5 – Sentinel High School):

SSHS Choir "Pacem, Dona Nobis, Pacem" by Mary Lynn Lightfoot and "A Patriotic Festival" an arrangement by Mark Williams: Excellent – "Loved the confident voices in the group."

SSHS Band "Ancient Dances" by Bruce Pearson and "Chanson De Noel, A French Carol" arranged by John Schuberg: Superior – "Excellent preparation from all members of the ensemble." "You all are making fabulous characteristic sounds on the instruments."

Small group and soloists rating & judges' comments (April 6 – Big Sky High School):

Brass Duet (Jared Townsend and Jayla Kauffman) "Introduction and Invention" by Frank J. Halferty: Superior – "Good ensemble playing rhythmic feel." "Lovely sound from both of you. Thank you for some great music."

Brass/woodwind ensemble (Kinley Moore, Klaire Kovatch, Jayla Kauffman and Jared Townsend) "Volta, A Baroque Dance" by Michael Praetorius: Superior – "Good tune, good knowledge on lead parts and good balance."

Vocal Duet (Addie Anderson and Korrine Treser) "Homeward Bound" by Marta Keen: Excellent – "Nice blend." "Nice job on the ending."

Jayla Kauffman, trombone solo "My Regards" by Edward Llewellyn: Superior – "Great solo." "Naturally musical."

Jayla Kauffman, vocal solo "Turn Then Thine Eyes" by Henry Purcell: Superior – "Nice dynamics and excellent dynamic range."

Klaire Kovatch, clarinet solo "Spirit Dance from the Opera ORPHEUS" by Christopher Willibald von Gluck": Superior – "Lovely tone."

Lane Mackie-Wendel, vocal solo "Bright Morning Stars, a Kentucky Folk Song" arranged by Jay Althouse: Superior – "Wonderful resonance."

Kyle Peltier, vocal solo "She's Like the Swallow, a Newfoundland Folk Song" arranged by Carl Strommen: Excellent. "Nice job."

Korrine Treser, vocal solo "To the Sky a Southern Folk Song" arranged by Carl Strommen: Excellent – "High notes were lovely."

Jared Townsend, trumpet solo "Cantilena" by G.F. Handel: Superior – "Nice opening."

For more information about the State Music Festival time and location contact Abbott at 677-2224. Some of District Music selections will be featured at the SSHS Music Department's Spring Concert May 21 at 7 p.m. in the SSHS Auditorium. The community is invited to attend.

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

The Seeley-Swan High School Choir. Back (L-R): Accompanist Shauna Anders, Kyle Peltier, Lane Mackie-Wendel and Music Director Sandy Abbott. Front (L-R): Olivia Reinitz, Addie Anderson and Korrine Treser.


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