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Worth a little extra work

The first thing Kaitlyn Mann thought when her teacher suggested she enter a music competition was that it seemed like way too much work. She'd have to find an accompanist. They'd have to schedule a time to play. It just didn't seem worth the trouble.

The teacher persisted, though. And now Mann is probably glad he did.

Last week it was announced the Rosemount High School senior was the winner of the Medalist Concert Band Earl C. Benson Concerto Competition. The win comes with a $750 cash prize and an opportunity to perform as a featured soloist with the band April 7 in its final concert of the season.

Band director Steve Olson, the teacher who encouraged Mann in the first place, called the Medalist Concert Band one of the oldest and most prestigious community concert bands in Minnesota.

"It's a fairly prestigious kind of thing," said Olsen, who called Mann "a phenomenal musician and just a kind and humble person."

Entering the competition didn't turn out to be all that much extra work, either. Mann, who is the principal clarinetist in the RHS wind ensemble and a section leader in the Irish marching band, was able to recruit her neighbor to accompany her on piano. They spent about an hour recording a few takes of Carl Maria von Weber's Concertino for Clarinet. Then, she picked the best take and sent it off.

She will use the same recording when she applies for college scholarships.

Mann learned Dec. 18 she had been selected for the finals of the competition. She and several other finalists performed live for a panel of judges at the Bloomington Center for the Arts.

"It was pretty intense," she said. "It was cool, though, because when we were there we were treated like royalty."

She found out the next day that she had won.

The money Mann received for her win will likely go toward college expenses. Mann, who plans to study web design and multimedia, will likely use put the money toward software and a computer.

Mann will perform the same piece of music at the April 7 concert. She's looking forward to the experience.

"Not many people get to be a featured soloist," she said. "You never get that opportunity, and I probably never will again."