Orcas musicians earn top awards

A busload of Orcas Island High School musicians traveled to Bellingham High School on Saturday morning, January 27, to compete in the all-day San Juan Music Educators Association regional solo and ensemble contest. By Sunday night, it was learned that two OIHS students earned top awards.

In solo violin competition, junior Paris Wilson played the first movement of the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor and placed first, meaning she will advance to statewide competition – or go to state – in April at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA, where winners from Washington’s 22 regional contests will compete in the Washington Music Teachers Educators Association and Washington Interscholastic Activities Association State Solo and Ensemble Contest.

Junior Tim Jenson was awarded second place – the first alternate to state if the first-place soloist is unable to attend – for his French horn performance of the first movement of “Horn Concerto No. 1” by Richard Strauss.

According to OIHS Strings Director Pamela Wright and OIHS Band Director Darren Dix, achieving these top awards is really significant because Orcas students compete with schools that are many times larger. All three Bellingham high schools, for example, have more than 1,000 students each, compared to OIHS enrollment of 144.

In the January competition, the OIHS Strings performed as a chamber ensemble with Paris Wilson, Joanne Mietzner, Nathan Smith, Mario Rodriguez, Skylar Dalusio and Lilia Greening. Performing separately as a quartet called Orcas Violins were Mietzner, Smith, Rodriguez and Dalusio.

OIHS band musicians competing in the event included Ewan Lister, solo trumpet, and several small ensembles: The Spice Girls with Alanna Lago, Flora Lister, Hazel Moe, and Lindsey Simpson; The Sizable Simons and Big Brad with Ethan White, Henry Moe and Liam Griskey-Watson; Nerds with Drums with Landon Carter, Kayleigh Horton, Meg Waage, and Avery Bishop-Martin; and Dan’l Webster with Ewan Lister, Luke Pietsch, Grace Gustafson, Christian Heisinger and Tim Jenson.

The Orcas community can hear many of these talented young musicians play at the annual Music Advocacy Group’s concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, in the old gym on the Orcas school campus. The school musicians will perform, along with the Orcas Choral Society, Orcas Island Community Band and Island Sinfonia. MAG concert admission is by donation and all donations go to MAG to support the music program at the Orcas Public Schools.