Hopi High music students 'superior' at solo and ensemble music festival

Sunny Lomayestewa (left) and Star Not Afraid celebrate after winning awards at the Arizona Music Educators Association Northeast Region Solo and Ensemble Festival in Snowflake Jan. 26. Submitted photo

Sunny Lomayestewa (left) and Star Not Afraid celebrate after winning awards at the Arizona Music Educators Association Northeast Region Solo and Ensemble Festival in Snowflake Jan. 26. Submitted photo

Seven Hopi High music students combined to win five awards at the Arizona Music Educators Association Northeast Region Solo and Ensemble Festival at Snowflake High School Jan. 26.

Star Not Afraid, a junior guitar student, won a superior rating, the best ranking possible, for her performance of the song "Gymnopedie."

Aidan Fredericks, a sophomore, on tenor sax and Jordan Lomahoema, a junior, on baritone sax earned a superior rating for their duet performance of "The Reapers."

Sunny Lomayestewa, a senior, and Not Afraid received an excellent rating, the second best, for their guitar duet performance of "The Cay."

Charnelle Leslie, a junior, earned an excellent ranking for her alto saxophone solo performance of the "Toreador Song" from the opera "Carmen."

Mylee Dennis, a sophomore clarinetist, and Danielle Dewanyumptewa, a junior flutist, won a good rating for their duet performance of the "Theme from Dvorak Symphony #2, MVT II."

The Hopi High music students who won awards received certificates.

Jared Robertson, director of the music program at Hopi Jr./Sr. High School, said he was extremely proud of the music students' awards because the students had never been to the festival previously.

"They were competing against non-reservation schools and some of these students had never competed before," he said.

Robertson said the Hopi High award winners are capable of majoring in music in college, but added that if they are serious about music they need to practice more when they are not in class.

"They have the talent and the motivation is there," he said.

This was not a public performance. Professional music judges rated the music students from eight high schools.

"It was nice for the students to get feedback from professionals," Robertson said.

Robertson said the Hopi High music students told him that they were happy with the performances.

"The main benefit is they get to see what other music students are doing," he said. "They don't get to see that much out here."

Robertson thanked school administration for allowing them to go to the festival and the transportation department for getting them there.

"I also want to congratulate the students on their hard work," he said.

Hopi High Principal Glenn Gilman said he is ecstatic that the students brought home so many awards.

"I feel that a high school music program is essential for students to be able to excel at other opportunities such as this ensemble competition," he said. "I would like to commend all the students for their outstanding commitment and dedication to music."

Gilman said he also wanted to recognize Robertson for his accomplishments as music director.

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