Woodwind Quintet shines at music festival

West’s ensemble shines at the Solo and Small Ensemble festival.


From left to right: Amy Yan ’17 (flute), Kamea Holmes ’17 (bassoon), Hope Anderson ’16 (oboe), Ned Furlong ’17 (french horn), Anoushka Divekar ’16 (clarinet)

While making music can be a one person job, the power of an ensemble came through at the Solo and Small Ensemble Festival.

West students gathered at Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School to play at the festival Saturday. Students throughout Cedar Rapids and the Corridor area prepared pieces to play in front of judges, hoping to receive feedback and ratings to match their performance.

Of all the students at the festival, one of West’s performances rose to the top. The mixed woodwind quintet composed of Anoushka Divekar ’16, Hope Anderson ’16, Ned Furlong ’17, Kamea Holmes ’17  and Amy Yan ’17 was named the best ensemble performance of the day.

IMG_0619“I think a combination of [playing] a difficult piece and us being musical players who know what sounds good and how to make things sound musical is probably what reflected well,” Furlong said.

The ensemble chose to tackle an arrangement of George Bizet’s Carmen, a piece that the five members had played for a school orchestra concert last year. This previous experience along with the familiarity between the quintet members made it possible to prepare the piece in just two weeks.

“[Carmen is] an esteemed orchestral piece so I was excited to see how it would be arranged for just five people,” Furlong said. “I don’t know a lot of the orchestra kids and I’m not used to the orchestral setting, but these are all people I’m relatively friends with and I know.”

“I play in the [school band] and the [school jazz band] but it was really fun to play in a new setting, to play with people I hadn’t heard that intimately previously,””

— Ned Furlong '17

This element of cooperation between five different people and instruments made playing in the ensemble something Furlong “didn’t know would be so much fun.” Although the high-ranking performance was the cherry on top, Furlong felt that the ensemble experience was an important takeaway from the festival.


“I play in the [school band] and the [school jazz band] but it was really fun to play in a new setting, to play with people I hadn’t heard that intimately previously,” Furlong said. “I don’t necessarily get to hear their individual playing all that often and it’s kind of fun to work with people that you talk to but you don’t necessarily get that close of musical contact with.”

In addition to the mixed woodwind quintet’s success, all of West High’s performances received the two highest Division 1 and Division 2 ratings. Furthermore, other outstanding performances of the day included Divekar and Jacob Nishimura ’16 who had the best clarinet solo and best saxophone solo of the day, respectively.

Photo courtesy of Anoushka Divekar.