By Carol Stiffler

Newberry and Engadine schools each had a pair of musicians earn top ratings at last weekend’s State Solo and Ensemble competition in Marquette, traveling west despite the blizzard that eventually closed M-28.

Sophia Johnson and Lola Depew from Newberry

Lola Depew and Sophia Johnson of Newberry High School each received “Excellent” ratings for performances on alto saxophones at the State Solo & Ensemble Festival.  Depew and Johnson each played saxophone solos, a number of scales selected at random by the Festival Judge, and “sight read” a piece of music they had never seen before.

Only the top performers from the U.P. and Mackinac City District level Solo and Ensemble competition were invited to this State level competition.

Ava Holcomb and Nate Stielstra from Engadine

In Engadine, students Ava Holcomb (8th grade) and Nate Stielstra (7th grade) performed a flute-saxophone duet called “Allegro for Musical Clock” by Beethoven. Holcomb and Stielstra earned a “1” rating, the highest possible, and lengthy compliments from judges.

“They’ve worked so hard,” said Nicki Holcomb, Ava’s mother.

Both students are planning to enrich their musical skills by attending Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp this summer.

Congratulations to Lola, Sophia, Ava, and Nate!