I personally am proud of all students who perform at these festivals. For me the ratings do not mean that much. I don't collect them, I don't share the percentages with other directors and thump my chest when I have more of the higher ratings than someone else.
I believe the educational value in the SSE festival is the preperation itself. Students who participate in these events learn what it takes to perform in a small group, learn the music, and apply their own knowledge of music. These students take what they learn in the choral classroom and apply that knowledge in a small ensemble rehearsal. A soloist must remember and apply what they've learned about vocal production and foreign languages.
If there were no ratings given, comments and constructive critisism only, and no state festival to "compete" for; I still believe every student involved is better off for doing so.
Congratulations to all o