Bars and Beams

Saxophonist shares life lesson’s through gymnastics and music


Hannah poses with her saxophone. Photo courtesy of Hannah Wolkowitz

Alyssa Weisenberg, Staff Reporter


Wolkowitz competes in bars at the St. Louis Classic meet in February
hosted by Central Gymnastics Academy. Photo courtesy of Hannah Wolkowitz.

Friday and Saturday, March 11th and 12th were the dates for this year’s Solo and Ensemble competition held at Parkway Central High School. The students who participated in the competition did very well. 

Doug Hoover, Director of Bands, is proud of his students overall. “I’d say that in general, the school did really, really well. Lots of lots of exemplary and outstanding ratings, ones and twos. And most kids really, really played well. Even if they didn’t earn a one, they played well.”

The scoring rate for Solo and ensemble is one out of five. One is the highest score you can get and five is the lowest. If you get a one you move on to the state competition. 

One freshman, Hannah Wolkowitz demonstrated the dedication and talent needed to be successful in music. Freshman Hannah Wolkowitz earned a one in solo and ensemble playing the first movement of the Glazunov Concerto on the alto saxophone. However, like many things in life it had to be worked for and one must push themselves to reach goals. Many talented people get nervous when they are told they have to perform. 

“Don’t wait to play for other people.” Hannah said. “Don’t hide it away because you’re nervous. Don’t be nervous for someone that just wants to hear music”

Wolkowitz learned this from her experience playing at Solo and Ensemble. Mr. Hoover highly recommends that students play in the Solo and Ensemble competition to learn from experience just as Hannah learned. 

“I think that everybody grew from preparing,” Hoover Said. “Even those that didn’t earn a one weren’t disappointed. I think they got a lot out of the event and that’s our goal for everybody, to get better.”

Not only did Hannah do exceptionally well in Solo and Ensemble but she has a record of incredible performances in the All Suburban and All State Bands. She held first chair in all Suburban Bands since she was in 7th grade which is the first year it is possible to join the Middle school All Suburban Band. This year she made second chair in the band but was unable to go due to Covid-19. 

Hannah didn’t let the past lost opportunities stop her. Hannah has big plans for the future. She plans to continue to study music in college, compose music as well as be a professional saxophone player.

Most people think ‘oh, you play the sax so it’s got to be jazz.́ I want to change that. I want to do music later in my life in college and after that I want to compose music with saxophones in the orchestra. There’s not enough of that. It’s such a beautiful instrument and nobody writes for it.”

Wolokowitz’s talents are not limited to playing saxophone though and she knows her future starts today. She has been composing music since the end of 2020. 

I composed a piece called Locked.” Hannah said. “This was based on a poem I wrote called Locked. It was the first composition I ever wrote. It was written for soprano saxophone and piano. I entered it into the Creating Original Music Project (COMP) competition by the University of Missouri and got 3rd place in the middle school classical division.”

Currently she is working on an orchestration with alto saxophone and piano. Outside of music, Wolokowitz is a gymnast spending around 21 hours a week at the gym. 

She believes that the things learned in gymnastics as well as the things learned from playing the saxophone can be applied to anything in life really. 

“In gymnastics, we will do something over and over again. Consistency is key” Hannah said. “The hard work and the determination and the mindset you have in the gym every single day can really be applied to anything in life.”