Soloist Information

OMEA Solo and Ensemble Contest 
Saturday, January 26th, 2019: 8a - 5p, Elder High School

The Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) is the principal organization in Ohio for promoting music education in elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities. In January or February of each year, OMEA sponsors an adjudicated (judged) event to provide high school soloists and small group ensembles an opportunity to receive valuable feedback and a rating of their performance.

OMEA is more about challenging yourself with music than any rating you receive from the judge. Although many choral students work with voice teachers throughout the year, this is not a requirement to compete or be successful at OMEA. OMEA offers three competition classifications so performers can be critiqued at a level consistent with their musical development and expertise.  

All members of the choral program will be there as ensemble participants anyway, so many students elect to do a solo while they are there, knocking out a threefer: (1) semester exam grade, (2) 3rd quarter performance grade, and (3) reflection on their performance for their 3rd Quarter Growth Quotient.

If you are interested in participating as a soloist at OMEA you will need to register with Mr. Holdt by Thursday, December 13th so that fees and registration forms can be filed.  Registration fee for soloists is $20, and $35 for accompanist underwriting (the Boosters pay the balance) and should be paid online at at the time of registration.  

In recognition of the time and energy required for preparation, students are afforded the opportunity to apply participation in a solo at Solo and Ensemble Contest to earn credit for the semester choir exam.

There will be a required rehearsal with your choral program accompanist to run through solos the week of Solo and Ensemble contest.  Check the choral program calendar once accompanists have been assigned.

There will be a low-key, pre-event run-through recital on Saturday, January 19th in the Synnovation Lab, Choir Room, or Auditorium @ 7p.  (Call time @ 6:20p).

Register + Run through rehearsal + low-key recital + competition day = A on your Semester Exam.

Students interested in participating should:

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind in preparation for the day of competition:

Elder High School 

3900 Vincent Avenue 

Cincinnati, OH 45205

  1. The Vocal Boosters provide full underwriting for rehearsal time during student choir bells with pianists such as Ms. Linsey Rogers, Mrs. Debbie Frank, Mrs. Carolyn Miller Mr. David Kirkendall, Mr. Jack Yang, and Mrs. Debbie Handkins.
  2. If students elect to not use Ms. Rogers, Mrs. Frank, Mrs. Miller, or Mrs. Handkins, etc., arrange for another accompanist in advance and share the location and time with them as soon as it is known (sometimes as late as a week in advance).
  3. If arranging for your own accompanist, know that accompanists charge a fee (~$40-$50) to play in a venue such as OMEA.
  4. Make sure the accompanist has a copy of the solo music and that the student has an ORIGINAL copy (no photocopies!) of the music for the judge.   If working with a Choral Program accompanist, the accompanist will have your music for you, so you don’t have to worry.
  5. Ms. Rogers, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Frank, and Mrs. Handkins will work with all students on a rotating basis during choir bells the month of January.  This allows flexibility in who will accompany for any given student as each accompanist sees and works with all students over the course of time.  Once the schedule from the venue has been released, accompanists will develop the most efficient approach to best serve all students.
  6. Remember: If using Choral Program accompanists, the week before contest, students will be called to an after school rehearsal to do a final run-through with the accompanist.  (I.e. Ms. Rogers’ students on Wednesday, Mrs. Miller’s on Thursday, Mrs. Frank’s on Friday, etc.)

  1. The Sycamore High School Choral Program provides a whole bunch of music from the list for you to borrow.  You can access them through a shared Google Drive folder.  Print for your records.  The accompanist will have the original music.
  2. If you want to do a piece that the Sycamore High School Choral Program does not own, you are reponsibile to acquire it.  Do so at at the time of registration.  Ask Holdt for help in ordering so you are sure to order the correct edition/arrangement/version.
  3. If you purchase your own, consider donating it to the program for use by future students once you are finished.
  4. Students not using a choral program accompanist MUST bring an ORIGINAL document of the music to the competition for the judge to use during the performance.  ORIGINAL means that the music is printed in a book or printed off a website with proof of purchase on the printout. Photocopies will not be accepted for pieces written from the early 1900's or later.  Students are to discuss with their voice teacher or the choir director to help make the best selection for the student’s voice range.  If you are using a choral program accompanist, the accompanist will bring the original music for your adjudicator.
  5. Before the competition day, the student-soloist must number each measure of original music in pencil. Measure numbering is required by the judges and makes it easier for them to comment on the performance in their written evaluations.  Per rule, the rating is lowered if measures are not numbered.
  6. Sing the piece in the language of the title.
  1. Competition usually runs on time.  Be prompt to the competition room.  Find the ensemble name and time listed outside the competition room and confirm with the volunteer stationed at the competition room as to whether or not the session is running on time.
  2. Warm up in the car on the way over by recording the warmups we do in class on your phone.
  3. Community warm-up rooms are available on-site.  Coordinate with the accompanist about place and time IN ADVANCE.  Elder is a black hole for cell service and we have not been able to communicate with one another real-time in previous years.  
  4. Find the location and use it to warm up and run through the piece with the accompanist.  It is almost certain (and normal, and awkward) that others will be in the room as you warm up.  Take turns and be nice to each other and folks from other schools.  Again, warm up in the car.
  5. Do not compete earlier than you are scheduled, even if the judge asks you to.  Holdt is trying to see everyone perform, so don’t go early.  Sometimes rooms run late, that’s ok, but don’t go early.
  6. When called by the judge to compete, he/she will ask for the original copy of the music.
  7. The accompanist should take their place at the piano or keyboard.
  8. There may be spectators in the room.  Parents, friends, lingering randos from the previous soloist or the next soloist may be there.  Holdt may swoop in with a bunch of Sycamore-ians who want to see you do your work and rock your solo.  If you want anyone to leave, it is within your purview to request the adjudicator or Holdt to ask them to do so.
  9. Student name, school and the piece being performed will be introduced by the volunteer assigned to the competition room.  There is one judge in each room.
  10. After you perform, wait for any comments from the judge and retrieve the music.
  11. Family members and classmates are allowed to sit in on your performance.  No photo or recording of the performance is allowed.  With thousands of events taking place in a single place on a single day, it is recommended that you see others from Sycamore and other schools perform.  You can see soloists and ensembles in vocal music, band, or orchestra compete!
  12. Scores will be posted in a general receiving area at the competition venue.  Written comments will be sent to your choir director and shared with you at school on a later date.  It may take approximately 30-60 minutes for your score to be posted after you perform. Scores are 1-5 with a 1 being a Superior Rating.

Here are the items used to judge the solo/ensemble performance:

  1. Tone: Quality, breath support and control, blend and balance.
  2. Intonation
  3. Interpretation: tempo, phrasing, expression, style and dynamic level
  4. Technique: note accuracy, rhythmic accuracy, articulation-diction, facility, precision
  5. Ratings:
  1.            Rating I – An outstanding performance, with very few technical errors and exemplifying a truly musical expression.  This rating should be reserved for the truly outstanding performance.
  2. Rating II – An unusual performance in many respects, but not worthy of the highest rating due to minor defects in performance, ineffective interpretation or improper instrumentation.
  3.          Rating III – An acceptable performance but not outstanding. Showing accomplishment and marked promise, but lacking one or more essential qualities.
  4. Rating IV – A very poor performance indicating deficiencies in most of the essential factors and indicating that much careful attention should be given to the fundamentals of good performance.  This rating should be used sparingly and only when it is possible to cite major faults.
  5.          Rating C – Comments only.
  6.          Rating D – Disqualified.
  1. Written comments from the judge are given to Mr. Holdt shortly after the performance.  Comments reflect both positive observations and constructive critiques, often including suggestions for improvement.