CDS Middle School Ensemble students attend FBA for the first time!

Carrollwood Day School Middle School Ensemble students, for the first time ever, recently participated in the Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) District Event. This event is a fantastic opportunity for our CDS Patriots to showcase their musical talents and receive feedback from trained professionals.

The FBA District Event allows students to perform solo or small ensemble pieces in front of judges who are experts in their respective fields. These judges evaluate the performances based on a set of criteria, including tone quality, intonation, technique, and interpretation. Students who receive high marks can earn awards and advance to higher levels of competition.

A huge congratulations to everyone who participated in this year's assessments and demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication to their craft. They rehearsed extensively in preparation for this event and put on outstanding performances that earned them recognition from the judges. See below to read their statements and listen to their pieces from attending the FBS District Event;


Quincey L. - 7th Grade

Whilst Solo and Ensemble initially incited fear and anxiety within me, I soon realized that I was not here to be judged harshly, but instead was here to gain helpful feedback on what I could do better when playing my clarinet. Solo and Ensemble were genuinely terrifying, being somewhere I'd never been before,  playing clarinet in front of people I'd never met before, knowing that I was going to be judged. However, I found the judges to be kind and encouraging, giving me many helpful tips for how I can further improve my performance skills. Preparing for Solo and Ensemble was just as, if not more, beneficial towards the development of my clarinet-ing skills. I had initially chosen a Grade 2 solo to play at the festival, but I ended up learning a second Grade 3 solo to play in its place. This was in large part because I learned so much from practicing my earlier Grade 2 solo, that I was ready for more.

Listen to Quincey's solo piece here.

Listen to Quincey's, Lilly's and Liam's trio here.


Liam H. - 8th Grade

Around February we started talking about solo and ensemble and I was presented with two solos, one was harder than the other. I choose the harder one and will admit, as I prepared for it, I sometimes would regret my decision. The difficulty of the piece was sometimes overwhelming for me. But the day came to perform it and I instantly lost all my regrets. I’m glad I chose Tambourin over another solo because I know I benefited much more from Tambourin than I would’ve on the other solo. I do many other extracurriculars so doing this solo showed me how I could manage my time better.  When the time to perform it came I was excited but nervous at the same time, shaking with fear. But I quickly understood that my band director was right. Everyone in the room was there to do nothing but support me, and be amazing human beings. And the judge gave such positive and helpful feedback, and a very funny interpretation of my solo.  Rewinding back to before the festival, sometime in early-mid March I came together with two fellow clarinet players in my class to form a trio. We looked through quite a few songs and found one we thought was challenging enough for us. Our preparation process felt very smooth, and I know we picked the right song. Because of how smooth our preparation felt, I felt much more at ease performing this piece compared to my solo, in which the preparation process felt like a rollercoaster. I enjoyed getting to know my trio members while preparing our song, and I’m sad to part ways with them as I move on to high school and they are still in middle school. Overall, I enjoyed the solo and ensemble experience and would do it all over again.

Listen to Liam's solo piece here.

Listen to Quincey's, Lilly's and Liam's trio here.


Addison R. - 7th Grade

On the 22nd of April, I went to solo and ensemble. Before my solo, I was a bit nervous to perform in front of the judicator. After I played my solo here, I was proud of myself and the judicator gave me wonderful advice. The advice was to practice playing my clarinet with just the mouthpiece and barrel to build up my embouchure. Then I had to play my duet with Olivia and the judicator said we played it really well. In conclusion, I  had a great time and would definitely do it again next year.

Listen to Addison's solo piece here.

Listen to Olivia and Addison's duet piece here.


Olivia R. - 7th Grade

For solo and ensemble, on April 22, I had to work hard and practice a lot to prepare the piece. As I practiced, in the week before, I started to get nervous about solo and ensemble. After my performance, I felt relieved and well-prepared for the event.  Some of the feedback from the adjudicator was to work on the embouchure, by floating my chin.

Listen to Olivia's solo piece here.

Listen to Olivia and Addison's duet piece here.


Lilly R. - 7th Grade

Solo and Ensemble was a really positive experience. At first, I was terrified, but I ended up learning a lot. We all enjoyed watching each other perform and being there to support everyone. I had so much fun that day, and I am looking forward to doing it again next year!

Listen to Lilly's solo piece here.

Listen to Quincey's, Lilly's and Liam's trio here.


Esteban S. - 6th Grade 

In Solo and ensemble, I learned many things. I learned new techniques and rhythms. It is a very cool experience because you can learn from the judge and they can tell you tips and give you inspiration to keep learning music. One instructor who really stood out to me was this very friendly judge who said to never let go of music because music brightens your mood. She said music will always have a very important part in your life.  Overall it was a very cool experience and You can learn a lot of things from it.

Listen to Esteban's solo piece here.


More Listening links for participating CDS middle school musicians: Sofia S., Gavin B., Anshul S., Alex L.:

Listen to Sofia's solo piece here.

Listen to Gavin's solo piece here.

Listen to Anshul's solo piece here.

Listen to Alex's solo piece here.


Participating in events like this is incredibly valuable for students. It provides them with an opportunity to develop their musical abilities, gain confidence in their performance skills, and receive feedback from professionals who can help them grow and improve.

CDS is incredibly proud of our student's achievements and the hard work they put into their music. We look forward to continuing to support and encourage the CDS music program and students as we strive for excellence and continue to grow.  

A special thank you to Middle School Music Teacher, Amy Callahan, for supporting and making this happen for our CDS students.