Every year, Washington’s finest high school musicians show off their talents in the Solo & Ensemble competition. Five of Ferndale High School’s band and choir students represented the Golden Eagles in Ellensburg on April 29-30, and they were thrilled to get that chance.
“We never considered state, we joined the competition just for fun,” said senior Jacob Peterson, 18, member of The Timeless Trio vocal group. “The fact that we got into state is just mind-blowing.”
The Timeless Trio and freshman tenor vocalist Leo Floyd were in the vocal competition at Solo & Ensemble, while senior Evan Walker, who plays bass clarinet, represented FHS’ band.
Walker, 18, performed Benedetto Marcello’s “Sonata in A Minor” in Ellensburg. In his earlier years in band classes, he unsuccessfully tried trumpet and clarinet before realizing the bass clarinet was the best fit for him.
Walker was not expecting to qualify for Solo & Ensemble, but he was thrilled to show off his skills, he said.
“I was surprised, but I was really excited when I heard the news,” said Walker, who is also the drum major for FHS’ marching band.
This year was the first in a school choir for Floyd, the freshman tenor vocalist. But he has plenty of experience singing, with a year in Seattle Children’s Choir and many theatre productions under his belt. Floyd sang “At the Mid Hour of Night” by Benjamin Britten at the state competition.
Floyd didn’t initially plan to audition for Solo & Ensemble, but choir teacher Jessica Schlichting encouraged him to do so, he said.
“She said I should get the experience and see what it’s like, and in future years, I could go,” said Floyd, 14. “To find out I was going to state on the first try as a freshman, it was a total shock – but I’m very excited!”
The Timeless Trio is a mixture of both vocal styles and ages: junior Josiah Foxx sings bass, sophomore Matthew Schlichting sings baritone and senior Jacob Peterson sings tenor. At Solo & Ensemble, they performed the Irish folk ballad “Star of the County Down.”
The three students have each sung for much of their lives – Foxx, 17, joked that he’s been “singing out of the womb” – but this is their first time as a formal trio. And they’ve enjoyed the collaborative experience.
“We’re really good friends, so it adds an element of fun,” said Schlichting, 16.
“We have this immediate trust,” added Peterson.
The trio said they didn’t feel too nervous about performing at state. They’ve had plenty of time to prepare, and they plan to keep the event fun, they said.
“We wanted to keep the competing aspect at a low priority,” said Peterson. “No matter what happens at state, what matters is that we get to bond and grow the most we can as musicians.”