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Prairie View musicians perform well at state, district contests

Prairie View High School pianists William Swisher, left, and Collin Pope performed at the regional festival earlier this month. Swisher advanced to the state contest. Below, saxiphonist Cole Holler qualified for two distrist bands. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

Prairie View High School senior William Swisher earned a I rating for his solo piano playing on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Kansas State Piano Festival in Wichita. It was the second year in a row that Swisher earned the highest mark in the state contest. He joins 77 other pianists from schools of all sizes across the state in earning a I rating.

Swisher is more often seen at the school playing drums in the pep and marching bands. But his skill at the piano has taken years to develop. While the state competition requires that students play a classical piece, Swisher has said that his real interest is jazz.

Collin Pope, also a senior at Prairie View, received a III rating at the Regional Piano Festival at Baker University on Feb. 3.

In other PVHS band news, senior Cole Holler participated in the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) District Band on alto sax, and the KMEA District II Jazz Band on tenor sax.

“Since he qualified for the district band and jazz band, it made him eligible to tryout for the KMEA All State Band,” said PVHS band teacher Jeffery Russell.

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