Several Knoxville High School band students participated in the state solo/ensemble contest this past weekend and returned with several top ratings. The students competed in the class 3A festival Saturday where they earned twenty Division I ratings and nine Division II ratings.

Knoxville Band Director Ross Leeper says he is very pleased with the successes his students had at the contest as they have worked diligently to develop their musical skills and the results were obvious. Leeper says the Iowa High School Music Association guidelines call for 20-30% of the entries receiving Division I ratings though roughly 70% of Knoxville students who participate earn the highest ranking possible. He says he was particularly pleased to note that 100% of the ensembles performing on Saturday earned Division I ratings. In addition, the clarinet duet of Paige Yocum and Jenn Adrian, along with solo performances of Yocum on clarinet and Paul Gerver on tympani were awarded perfect scores. Something Leeper says is somewhat unusual and similar to a baseball player pitching a perfect game.

Leeper says after being in the profession for more than fifty years he has a pretty good idea of the level at which his students are performing and was not really surprised at the success they achieved. Of course, he says there are always a few individual surprises that can be expected since judging is very subjective. He says the judges area always competent and experience individuals but naturally they have opinions and there are occasions where surprises occur.

Mr. Leeper goes on to say that the Knoxville community should be aware of the strength of the Fine Arts in the Knoxville schools. He says there is a plethora of research that proves that participation in the arts, particularly in instrumental music, enhances cognitive development which, in turn results in higher academic achievement. Leeper says the arts, as a viable curricular subject are very important in the overall education of students.

Soloists receiving top ratings:
Paul Gerver, tympani and marimba
Rachel Humeston, French horn
Jen Kuenstling, clarinet
Joe Stearns, alto saxophone
Matt Humeston, baritone horn
Paige Yocum, clarinet
Kathy Adrian, trombone
Ned Helle, trombone
Katie Ayers, baritone saxophone
Josh Burk, French horn
Zach Cupples, percussion.

Ensembles receiving Division I ratings:
Trombone trio (Ned Helle, Olivia Crawford, Kathy Adrian)
Clarinet Quintet (Paige Yocum, Sara Davids, Shauna Schmitt, Jen Kuenstling, Jenn Adrian)
Marimba duet (Paul Gerver, Rachel Worthington)
Clarinet Trio (Sara Davids, Jenn Adrian, Paige Yocum)
Clarinet Quartet (Jen Kuenstling, Sam Williams, Shauna Schmitt, Jacob Sperr)
Trumpet Quartet (Josh Burk, Patrick Miller, Anthony Herrera, Steven Watson)
Saxophone Quartet (Matt Beary, Andrew Kecy, Abbi Crawford, Luke Oberbroeckling)
Clarinet Duet (Paige Yocum, Jenn Adrian)

Receiving Division II ratings:
Kassie Griggs, flute
Tianna Green, flute
Carrie Adrian, tuba
Patrick Miller, trumpet
Matt Beary, alto saxophone
Steven Watson, trumpet
Alex Wilkening, trombone
Sam Williams, clarinet.

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