Prescott Valley young musicians share competition prize money
Forty participants entered the 2013 Yavapai Symphony Guild Young Musicians competition and 24 walked away with some amount of the total $9,000 in prize money, which ranged between $500 for first place winners in the senior division to $25 for fourth place win in the junior division.
Several of the award-winning students began competing in the junior division - grades 6-9 -and have progressed to the senior division - grades 10-12 - where their expertise and level of skill acknowledges the hours and years of practice and dedication. The first place winners performed for the public on Nov. 13 at the Prescott Adult Center.
Rachel Zea, Prescott Valley, first won top prize in the junior division woodwinds/brass in 2007, again in 2010, and this year in the senior division. She also competes in the Prescott Center for the Arts (formerly Prescott Fine Arts Association) and has earned numerous awards in that competition.
For the second year in a row, Melody Starzell, Prescott, earned a first place in Senior Voice. A student of Arlene Hardy and a veteran of competitions, Melody also has earned top prize in the PCA competitions.
On Oct. 28, participants played before judges at Yavapai College. Only the judge, a scribe and the student are in the room for the competition. The students have up to 10 minutes to play their pieces, and the judge has another 10 minutes to sit with the student and give comments and suggestions.
Gabriel Riegner, Prescott, won first place on the mandolin in the Senior Strings, having won first place this past year in the Junior division.
Glory Glidden, Prescott, earned a first place on the violin in Junior Strings, moving up from third place last year. Other members of the Glidden family earned awards: Johan took third place in Senior Strings, and Zara a fourth place in Senior Piano.
Galen Dennis, Wilhoit, earned a Promise Award in 2011 for Voice and impressed the judges this year, taking first place. Jacob Goswick, Prescott Valley, earned a first place in Junior Piano, as did Stephen Ramsey, Prescott Valley, in the Senior Division.
In the brass/woodwinds section, Kristina Ramirez, Chino Valley, won first place on flute in the Junior Division for the second year in a row.
Yavapai Symphony member Carol Friedman said this year four groups of siblings competed in various categories. Sisters Emma and Kirsi Steverson from Prescott Valley, Emily and Anna Nardo, Prescott; Shalom and Christopher Eis, Humboldt; and the Glidden trio.
A large proportion of participants are home schooled. Friedman said she thought being at home could be more relaxing and students would experience less pressure than being in a classroom with 30 others.
"Also, the home-schooled students can go to music lessons - all with private teachers ¬- at all different times of the day. Schoolwork is done 'around' music, not the other way around. The ones who are fresh and alert in the morning have morning music lessons, and vice versa," she said.
This year's numbers, 40 students, have decreased from 61 this past year and more than 70 in 2010. Contributions to the scholarship program also have declined from $13,050 in 2010, $9,600 this past year, and $8,000 this year. About 24-26 students receive awards each year.
The Yavapai Symphony Guild receives donations from the community, grants and local businesses and organizations that also benefit students in grades 3-5 with the annual Music Memory program and concert at Tim's Toyota Center. For more information, please call Carol Friedman at 928-772-1648.