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The Skyline Horizon

The Student News Site of Skyline High School

The Skyline Horizon

The Student News Site of Skyline High School

The Skyline Horizon

Skyline Concerto Night Provides Extraordinary Music & Experiences


Skyline’s annual Concerto Night took place on March 8, featuring nine talented instrumental soloists with accompaniment from the full orchestra. Concerto Night is a performance completely made up of concertos, with Seniors auditioning to be a soloist in each concerto showcased. 

Auditioning for Concerto Night is a little more complicated than auditioning for Skyline music groups. Instrumental Music teacher and Concerto Night conductor, Adam Larson, explained, “I hire professional musicians to come in and be judges. The students audition for the panel of judges and then those who pass the audition are chosen to be in the concert.” This is different from the usual auditions, where Larson chooses which students pass the auditions.

This year’s Concerto Night auditions were in November, with practice starting the following month on concertos selected by the soloists. The search can be difficult, as explained by pianist Peter Larsen. He said, “I spent about a month looking at different concertos. I asked around. Everyone has an opinion on what they like.” He decided on Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Mvt. I, which would later become the first concerto played at Concerto Night. 

After auditions, the soloists and orchestra have four months to perfect the concertos. However, Larsen started practicing his concerto even before he knew he’d be in the concert. “I spent a year working on it and, in the first few months, I thought I would have to just stop,” he stated. “But, as I got going, I got better and better at it. I found a teacher that could help me work on the classical aspects. […] I got a lot of help from private teachers.” 

The students in Concerto Night were able to work on their pieces substantially in school as well with Larson. Since soloists were required to be long-term members of a Skyline instrumental music group, they had some of that class time available to practice along with some of their accompaniment. Larson said, “For the Orchestral accompaniment, students in the Philharmonic Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble classes make up the big orchestra.” 

This also meant that many of the soloists would play in the orchestra when they weren’t doing their solo. This was the case for violinist Bethanne Matheson, who is a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra. She said, “It was just so, so cool to be with […] eight other soloists who all worked so hard on their pieces as well and their pieces were so fun, cause I got to play in the orchestra for their pieces, so that was fun. To be able to support them and accompany them and then they got to support me.” 

However, Matheson thought the orchestra should get credit for the importance of their contribution. She stated, “So many people are like, ‘Oh my gosh, the soloists were so amazing’ but, when you really think about it, the soloists would not sound good at all without the orchestra, and Mr. Larson does such a great job leading.”

Overall, Concerto Night was a success in the eyes of the musicians. Larson expressed, “It was an excellent concert! I’m very happy!” The joy was shared by the soloists. “Everything went off without a hitch,” Larsen said. “I also loved […] listening to all the other soloists. There’s something magic that happens between the dress rehearsal and the actual performance.” One special thing the soloists got to do for Concerto Night was dress up in attire that could break the Instrumental Music program’s traditional concert black dress code. This was especially fun for Matheson, who thought it really added to the whole experience. In her explanation of how the night went, she said, “I got to wear my fun dress and I get up there and perform and my [private] teacher even said after, ‘I think you peak in performance.’” 

Now that Concerto Night has passed, the soloists shared some advice for next year’s auditionees. Larsen said, “Choose a piece that you can listen to like hundreds of times, cause you will.” Both Larsen and Matheson emphasized the importance of starting early. “I didn’t start as early as I was wanting to and so it definitely was a lot more stressful preparing for auditions,” Matheson explained. However, she also explained that students shouldn’t let the stress stop them. “I was so worried that I was not going to make it because it wasn’t perfect. But, the thing is, if you audition, then you have four months to perfect it,” she said. She added, “Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to, and if you put your whole heart into it, then it will pay off.” 

The soloists agreed they were all very grateful for the experience that was Concerto Night. Larsen stated, “I just love music and I love that we do this at Skyline. I love that we have such a strong music program.”

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About the Contributor
Kiana Reid
Kiana Reid, News and Arts & Culture Editor
Kiana Reid is a Sophomore at Skyline. Apart from her involvement on the Horizon last year, Kiana has been creative writing since kindergarten. She spends her spare time in the theatre department and is a proud member of the Skyline Second Stage class.

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