Many students practice for UIL

Ready, Set, UIL!

Simi Fadel, Staff Writer

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Students in the Fine Arts are practicing to compete in UIL competitions this March at Mckinney High School in Order to Secure their Title and earn perfect scores.

“I feel very confident this year that Orchestra will earn a top score for the UIL performance,” said Alexandra Harris, 8, “We have been preparing the pieces for several weeks and have worked to bring them to the next level.”

Participating in UIL has been a tradition in WSMS for years, and band, choir, and orchestra have attained many awards for their work.

“There’s this excitement of we did really good last year let’s try and make it better and better and better,” said Elizabeth Josina, 8, “That can also be twisted in we did really good last year and what if we end up making it worse.”

Though the weeks have been stressful for some, others are enjoying the preparation process.

“I really love seeing our students develop an appreciation for instrumental ensemble music and enjoy sharing the experience with them,” said WSMS Band Director Martha Ball.

In addition to the actual performance, students compete in a sight-reading section which includes silently practicing a piece of music for a certain amount of time and playing it in front of judges.

“You get a piece of music and you get eight minutes,” said Margaret Koehn, 7, “You have to be absolutely silent and you play through the piece one time while the judges rate you.”

WSMS and Lovejoy High School Fine Arts Programs compete in this event annually.

“The seventh and eighth grade bands have been participating in UIL Concert and Sight-reading Contest since Lovejoy ISD opened the secondary school programs in 2006,” said Ball.

Though competing in the same program, band, choir, and orchestra have very different bouts in the process.

“The hardest thing would definitely be the constant sight reading. If you’re not good at it you need to immediately get on that because you’ll probably be left behind,” said Josina.

Some students favor the sight reading section over the stressful performance section, but most are excited to perform with friends outside of school.

“I’m most excited for traveling out of school,” said Koehn.

As the time for UIL approaches, practicing gets more intensive, and nervous feelings become more common.
“I am nervous and excited because I know the standards are set high after last year but I know that we are playing our songs very well and we will do our best,” said Nicole Young, 7.

However long and difficult the process is, students feel rewarded and happy that they got to take a part in it.

“I really enjoy the orchestra UIL process because you feel like you are part of a team,” said Harris.

Through the determination of teachers and students, and the hard work put into every piece, UIL is definitely an event to look forward to this year.