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By Marc Robertson
High school band students from Pearsall, Dilley and Cotulla have earned places at the State UIL Solo & Ensemble contest scheduled for the end of the academic year, having earned top marks from judges for their performances shortly before their Spring Break holiday.
In order to advance to the state contest, students must earn a Division I rating of ‘Superior’ for performing a Class 1 piece of music – rated as the most challenging by the University Interscholastic League – and do so from memory at local auditions in front of contest judges. Further Division I ratings are awarded to those with superior performances in different classes of music or performing from sheet music.
This year, students performing both as solo musicians and in small ensembles auditioned from high schools in both counties.
At Pearsall ISD, a total of 23 students took part in the auditions in early March. Six soloists and four ensembles performed for judges, with one soloist and three ensembles earning advancement and a chance at the state title.
Pearsall’s soloists included Aracely Ruiz on saxophone; Araceli Bocanegra, Samantha Diaz, Jolissa Zamaripa and Jenacy Munoz, all on clarinet; and Francisco Garza on percussion.
Pearsall’s ensemble performers were as follows:
Flutes: Ingris Torres, Brooke Gandara, Sophia Garza, Diamond Morquecho and Lilly Telles.
Brass quintet: Mashyra Herrera, Matthew Frazier, Calistro Garza, Brianna Guerra and Jackson Beever.
Trombones: Leonardo Esparza, Dylan Del Toro and Ryan Del Real.
Percussion: Jeremy Iraheta, Leah Mata-Rodriguez, Francisco Garza, Nicolas Garza and Deandra Hernandez.
Dilley High School students competing and earning Division I ratings and advancing to the state contest included the woodwind ensemble of Lillibeth Mullins and Klaudya Garcia on flute and Alexis Valdez on clarinet; and soloists Sean Kelley on percussion, and Ashley Zepeda and Alexis Valdez, both on clarinet.
Also earning Division I ratings for Dilley were soloists Klaudya Garcia on flute; Herbert Isaac Garfield on alto saxophone; Hannah Garza and Julia Ramirez on tenor saxophone; Alexis Alvarez, Heidi Quilimaco and Xzavayen Tijerina on bass clarinet; Anthony Guerra on French horn; Daniel Kelley on trombone; and Alyssa Sambrano, Christopher Giron, Rowdy Jasik, Santos Perez and Jose Rodriguez, all on snare drum.
For Cotulla High School, earning a Division I rating and advancing to State is Jadrian Rodriguez on French horn. Division I ratings were also awarded to Brandyn Ramirez on trumpet, Jeremia Gonzalez on tenor saxophone, Aaliyah Charo and Jessalin Valles on flute, Arturo Gonzalez on bass clarinet, Sara Adams on percussion, and Luis R. Benavidez on tuba.