Festival/Solo & Ensemble



Several years ago, it was realized that a short explanation of the Festival procedure and outcomes might help in allowing others to understand what the band and orchestra students prepare for at this time of year. Clarkston students and directors have just completed a very successful Festival weekend; here is a breakdown of what we did and the ratings that were earned. 

Each band or orchestra warms up for approximate 30 minutes prior to performance. Following warm-up, the bands and orchestras proceed to the Auditorium stage where they performed 3 selections. For the bands this includes  a march, a required piece, and a selected piece The march reflects on the history of the Wind Band, the required piece is sanctioned by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, and the selected piece is chosen to highlight each groups best assets. For the orchestra, an additional selected piece is performed rather than a march... 

The bands and orchestras are judged by 3 adjudicators. Each adjudicator listens specifically for Tone, Intonation, Rhythm, Technique, and Interpretation.  The adjudicators make comments regarding the choice of literature, the appearance of the group, and the behavior as the band enters and departs the stage. Comments are given in all of these areas and Grades ranging from A-E are awarded for Tone, Intonation, Rhythm, Technique, and Interpretation. A predominance of grades (3 of any grade) will determine the rating given by each judge. 3-A = I, 3-B=2, etc. The ratings of the 3 adjudicators are fit into a formula and the overall result is the Concert Rating.

Following the Concert Performance, the band or orchestra moves to the Sight Reading room. It is in the Sight Reading room where the student knowledge of key signature, style, accidentals, rhythms, etc. is evaluated. The band is given 5 minutes to study a piece of music they have never seen. During this time the director gives some directions but it is on the students’ shoulders to use everything they have learned so far to be able to play the music. During the 5 minutes, students are NOT allowed to play on their instruments! At the end of the preparation period, students and their director performed the piece of music to the best of the group’s ability. Following the performance, the Sight Reading adjudicator gave comments to the group. At all times during the evaluation, the parents are with the group hearing everything that is said. Grading is done in the same way as in the Concert hall but there is only 1 adjudicator. A formula is used to calculate the combination of Concert and Sight Reading grades to determine the final rating.