Orchestra students stand out at state competition

At the State Solo and Ensemble Competition on June 1 at UT, judges twice named two Mac orchestra students as outstanding performers on the same instrument

Dave Winter


Madelynn Niles

Kaya Fagerstrom, shown here performing at the fall guitar and orchestra concert on Oct. 25 at the AISD PAC, was one of two Mac orchestra musicians to be named on outstanding performer on trumpet. “I think just using my instrument in a lot of different ways is a good skill to have,” Fagerstrom told MacJournalism. “I don’t know career wise if that’ll play into what I end up doing, but I do think it could broaden the scope of my horizon as far as job opportunities if I can play more than just raw classical.”

Lucy Marco and Dave Winter

Four of the seven Mac outstanding performers at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble competition June 1 at UT were orchestra students.

Orchestra director Ricky Pringle said it’s rare for judges to name two outstanding performers on the same instrument.

Judges twice named two Mac orchestra students as outstanding performers on the same instrument.

I was less nervous than I usually am for competitions. I think it’s because I had already graduated. … I just wanted to enjoy my last performance connected to McCallum and at least not embarrass myself.

— Maggie Bishop

Class of 2019 grad Ian Jenson and rising senior Kaya Fagerstrom were both named outstanding performers on violin, and Class of 2019 graduate Maggie Bishop and rising senior Jack Montesinos were both named outstanding performers on string bass.

Jenson told MacJournalism that the experience was very sentimental.

“It was really nice to get to talk to Ms. Shockley before [my performance],” Jenson said. “She has been such a huge influence and such a kind soul.”

“Without her, honestly, I’d have never pursued music so it’s always really sweet getting to talk to her, and that was the last school-related time I’d get to do that.”

Fagerstrom agreed that the competition was special because she “got to hang with Shockley for a while one more time before she left.”

She also said that she enjoyed talking with the judge who named her an outstanding performer and gave her specific tips on how to improve.

My judge “studied with [famous violin teacher] Ivan Galamian on the same concerto” that I played. Galamian’s name “is actually printed on the front of my music so Galamian had a lot to do with the interpretation of the version I play.”

[Music is] the first thing I did that didn’t feel like work. … It really is just a great way to connect with people and make a link between the value inherent in connecting with others.

— Ian Jenson

Montesinos said he was tired when he auditioned because he had to carry his bass and stool three UT blocks on a hot June day before getting to play. But he said the short time to prepare for the audition was more of an obstacle than the summer heat.

“[The competition] pushed me to learn the piece before a hard deadline, and it paid off in the end,” he said.

Bishop said that being named an outstanding performer was “a really satisfying end to my high school involvement in music.”

“I didn’t take playing bass very seriously until junior year,” Bishop said.

“After I decided to pursue music in college, I started to devote more time and focus and actually practice.”

In addition to reminding her how far she has come, she said her recognition in her final high school performance was also an appropriate way to thank her teacher.

“Being able to feel like I made Mr. Pringle proud one last time , after 10 years of him being such a fantastic mentor to me was really nice,” Bishop said.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all the help he gave me along the way.”