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Middle School Solo and Ensemble Festival

February 1 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Solo and Ensemble Report

MSBOA District XII

Fall Meeting, Sept 12, 2013

Joseph DeMarsh, S&E VP for District XII  2014-2015

Ann Arbor Tappan Middle School Orchestra Director



I look forward to being the District XII Solo and Ensemble VP for the next two school years.  I’ve always loved Festival:  as a student, a director, a room chairman, adjudicator, and as your representative on the Festival Improvements Committee at the state office in Okemos.  And now I hope to put those experiences to use in a direct way.


S&E Festival is often the most direct contact our parents and students have with the MSBOA, that is, we directors as a group.  It’s critical that we make a special effort to be professional yet approachable and make S & E the most welcoming, supportive, and positive experience that we possibly can.



Please start your S&E planning early.  Get the information to your students very soon and set an early deadline.  Your actual deadline is November 7.


Please have patience as the state office switches over to a new online registration system this year.  We are making every effort to be proactive about working with the state office to make sure the system has been tested and works before we get to it.



Read the rules in the Yearbook.  The most common reasons for an event receiving “No Rating” are:

1. Duration is too short (90 seconds minimum for middle school; 2 minutes for high school).

2. No original full score. Internet music is fine as long as they can provide the URL from whence it came.  Please email me well in advance if you have a question about scores or substitute parts. Let’s head off problems and disappointments in advance.

3. No accompanist present when one is called for in the score.  In an emergency where a pianist doesn’t show up please send the student to Headquarters.  We may be able to help.


Schedule Problems
Please think carefully before asking me to change any performance times.  This is the largest Festival in Michigan and has several thousand events.  Work with your students in advance to check their schedules and choose the part of the day in registration (early, middle, late) wisely.  Certainly inform me of scratches as you learn of them and make every effort to handle problems yourself:  if two violin solos from your school need to switch times with each other go ahead (but inform me).  Conflicts can also be handled at the performance room on Festival day.  If there is a time conflict between two events ask the students to check in early with the room chairs involved and let the room chairs work them in as possible.  If something urgent comes up after registration and their early-middle-late preference no longer works please email me the information that they will be coming but at a different time of day and I will try to find another slot or at least be able to inform the room chair in advance to expect to work that event in as possible.  Include the leader name, time, and section number.


Your Work Assignment

Many thanks again to MVR (Most Valuable Retiree) Rich Alder for helping out with the worker schedule.  Please note that your requests for time/day may not be possible to honor in all cases.  We’ll do our best to contact those who don’t get their first choice but do check the assignments carefully when we release them.  If something comes up and you have a conflict make every effort to solve the problem yourself: any MSBOA member can sub for you, even retirees.   Just inform me.  If you can’t solve the problem contact me.


Your work assignment is critical to the success of the Festival.  We are putting this on for all of our students.  You may not know a single performer in your room but please treat each one as if they were your own child.  This could easily be a make-or-break moment for a nervous young player, especially at the wacky middle school level.  The goal is to make it a positive experience and motivate them to continue.


Festival Day

Attire is professional/business.  Look sharp; you represent your local colleagues and the entire MSBOA.

Arrive early.  We will meet in the Choir Room at Livonia Franklin High School at 7:15AM sharp (or at lunch for PM workers) to review rules and procedures for the day and end early enough to let you and the judges get settled for the first event at 8:00.


Smile and greet each event in the hallway.  Chat them up a little.  Collect their score and check it for measure numbers.  If it looks short ask them if they are aware of the time minimum (include the parent in the conversation).  Inform them that the consequence is that they can play but for comments only, no rating and no medal, should the performance time be short.  Let the previous event leave (tell them you’ll be out after this next event with their rating and judge’s music).  Usher in the new event and set up their chairs and stands for them.  Tune all middle school events; offer to tune high school events as you see fit.  Shut the door.  When the judge is ready and you’re sure he/she has the correct sheet make a nice announcement introducing the students by name, where they are from, and what they will play and then lead the applause at the end.  Keep an eye on the clock and try to stay on schedule.  Don’t hesitate to politely cut off the judge’s comments after 2 minutes.


Best of luck to all of your students at S & E this year!




February 1, 2014
8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Livonia Franklin HS
(734) 744-2655
31000 Joy Rd, Livonia, 48150
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