, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 13, 2012

One more time

High school musicians extend victory string in state contest

— Several area musicians made repeat appearances at the recent State Instrumental Solo and Ensemble Contest.

This is the fourth year Jessica Highfill of Oktaha and Chloe Pointer of Wagoner made top ratings at the state contest at Oklahoma State University.

“It takes lots of practice and stepping up to the plate,” said Highfill, who received a superior rating for her flute solo, “Sonata for Flute.”

Jessica said she’s been playing flute since fifth grade and plans to continue playing in college. She said she received a music scholarship at Northeastern State University.

Pointer, a junior, earned her fourth superior rating for her oboe solo, a piece by Haydn. She said the oboe is a hard instrument to play, but she had a lot of help from her private instructor, Celeste Johnson, associate professor of oboe at Oklahoma State University. Chloe said she plans to major in music and probably go to OSU.

Billy Gardner of Warner said this is his first year to score at State. He also earned a high ranking at a state vocal competition recently. He said he tries to practice at least an hour each day.

Four Hilldale soloists received Superior or Excellent ratings. Hilldale Band Director Matthew Lollman said all but one — senior Tommy Riddle — are freshmen or sophomores.

“The kids coming up have a good work ethic, they really push themselves to the next level,” Lollman said. “These students pick out their solos around October. They have to get through District Contest in February. If they score a Superior, they go to State,” he said.

Several Muskogee High School ensembles received excellent ratings.

One was the flute quartet — Theresa Walsh, Briana Sinnett, Madison Jones and Jayme Cochran.

Also placing was a trumpet trio — Forest Collins, Jonathan Hunter and Jacob Wilbourn.

“They definitely worked hard,” said Muskogee band instructor Lindsey Pittman, who took the students to contest.

Tahlequah Band Director Josh Allen said his students “did great.”

“We took 55 kids to state and there were several of them that got a superior rating,” Allen said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

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