A soloist and a quartet from Black River Falls took home top honors during the recent State Solo & Ensemble music festivals sponsored by the Wisconsin School Music Association.

Vocalist Mark Gacek of Black River Falls and the Black River Falls quartet of Katie Leadholm, Kim Leadholm, Andrea Peterson and Sunny Rufsholm won exemplary performance awards.

They were two of only 460 performances designated as exemplary out of the more than 11,000 vocal and instrumental solo and ensemble performances at the 10 state festival sites.

Other vocal soloists from region who won exemplary performance awards included: Erick Hunter and Ahmad Jandal, La Crosse Central; Ethan Nott, Aquinas; Anna Van Riper, La Crosse Logan; Juhl Kuhlemeier, Alma; Simon Geiger-Schutz, Cochrane-Fountain City; Savannah Horstman, Holmen; Kate Copps and Rachel Shoenecker, Onalaska; Joseph Krpan, Sparta; Anderson Becker, Tomah; Elena Morton, Viroqua; and Evan Philips, Westby.

Three small vocal ensembles from the area also won recognition, including duets from Holmen (Savannah Ploessl and Carter Sime) and Alma (Juhl Kuhlemeier and Katrina Danzinger).

Solo instrumentalists who were honored included: Sophie Brown (cello), Daniel Del-Carpio (piano), Suzanne Gorman (violin) and Christine McElligott (flute and piccolo) from Aquinas; Nic Petersen (tuba) from Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau; Henning Hanson (marimba/xylophone) and Sarah Teske (piano) from Onalaska; Bailey Gartner (marimba/xylophone) from Viroqua; Riley Frank (saxophone), Hannah Stoutner (flute) and Carlos Velasquez (bass) from Whitehall; and Leo Chavolla (euphonium) from La Crescent.

Small instrumental ensembles judged exemplary included a flute quartet from Logan (Xylona Merrell-Brownfield, Alex Yang, Keoni Yong and Joseba Santa Cristina), a saxophone duet from West Salem (Kirin Linse and Nick Stachowitz) and a handbell quartet from Blair-Taylor (Hilde Everson, Alex Beam, Lauren Kidd and Izzy Clark).

Four large groups from the area won exemplary performance awards, including a special ensemble from Aquinas, a saxophone choir from Tomah, and two vocal groups from Westby, a madrigal ensemble and a mixed contemporary a cappella ensemble.

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La Crosse Tribune entertainment and county government reporter

Randy Erickson covers arts and entertainment and county government for the La Crosse Tribune. Contact him at 608-791-8219 or randy.erickson@lee.net.

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