EARLY — First-year choir director Gabi Guest of Early High School has much to be proud of after the choir’s showing at Solo/Ensemble competition last month.
    “Out of the 23 participators we brought, 19 advanced to state solo/ensemble,” Guest said via email. “Eight out of our nine solos advanced. Three out of our five ensembles advanced. We'll be taking 13 students total to compete memorial Day weekend.
    “I mostly want to emphasize just how high our ratio of success was. We brought far less students than most of our competitors, but almost everyone we took to the initial contest advanced to state.”
    Guest provided comments from senior Danie  Contreras, about the solo/ensemble process:
    "For solo and ensemble it takes a lot of self discipline. There simply isn't a way to perform without taking the extra effort to make your self better.
    “Although, our director helps us learn our music and gives us instruction on the best way to execute our music, you are ultimately preparing to perform a solo and ensemble without the help of your director in front of one judge. That in itself it nerve racking.
    “Furthermore, an ensemble performs without the help of the piano. It is all a capella, which means you really have to listen to the people around you to create the best sound and story for your judge.
    “Being in an ensemble gives you the opportunity to have a team to lean on, but it also means you have to make the effort to find outside class time practice along with other extracurricular activities.
    “It is an experience that takes a lot of self accountability, but definitely one that is worth learning music that has been around for ages. It builds character and confidence for soloists and ensembles alike."
    Choir members will give a Pre-UIL concert April 4, and will compete in UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest April 12 at Tarleton State University.