The Delta branch of MTAC (Music Teachers' Association of California) hosted the Rachel Reilly Young Artist Competition at Los Medanos College in April. Fifteen students representing nine teachers participated in the competition. On May 17, the following student winners performed in recital and received their certificates and cash awards:
Category I (through eighth grade) first place: Geoffrey Dale Angus, violinist (student of Damian Ting); second place: Megan Maier, pianist (student of Grace Edwards)
Category II (grades nine through 12) first place: Chris Hewitt, pianist (student of Kathleen Flemming); second place: Elizabeth Tooley, flutist (student of Kim Zamjahn)
Geoffrey Angus is a sixth-grader at Bristow Middle School in Brentwood. A member of the Young Performer String Orchestra in Walnut Creek from 2002 to 2003, Geoffrey began his studies with Rem Djemilev at age 6 and has continued with Damian Ting since 2005. Geoffrey is also a 2008 recipient of an award by the Center for Talented Youth from John Hopkins University. He currently plays the tenor sax with the Bristow Middle School Cadet Band, and, being a natural performer, is also teaching himself to play the piano and acoustic guitar.
Megan Maier began piano lessons at age 5. Now at 13 and an outstanding eighth-grade student of Paideia Academy in Antioch, she continues her serious study in piano, working with teacher Grace Edwards for the past four years. Edwards describes Megan as an observant and musically sensitive student. Aside from being chosen to play in the Honors Recital of the MTAC's Certificate of Merit Program, Megan was also recommended to play in one of the MTAC Convention Recitals to be held at Riverside in June. Megan will be greatly missed by the Delta Branch members, as her family will be moving to Illinois in July.
Chris Hewitt, 17, came to piano teacher Kathleen Flemming two years ago for his first classical music instruction. Up to that point, he had been learning piano on his own. In these two years he has worked at the speed of light to master and perform many compositions from both the classical and popular music genre. He brings to his weekly lessons newly prepared music of Debussy, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Joplin, and he carries with him qualities of self-assertiveness and self-motivation.
In the past two years, Chris has served as principal accompanist at
Liberty High School for many high school events in both the instrumental and choral program. Recently, Chris and his friends have established a band called The Big Fat Swing Company. They perform regularly and they have recently produced their first CD, with Chris on the keyboard.
This summer, Chris will be studying and performing chamber ensemble works at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and in the fall he'll begin his studies as a piano performance major at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, studying with the renowned piano performer Frank Wiens.
Elizabeth Tooley came to teacher Kim Zamjahn three years ago, transferring from Carolee Birka, with whom she had studied since third grade. Elizabeth participated in the MTAC program Certificate of Merit for the first time this year and was selected to perform on the Delta Honors Recital.
Elizabeth is a 10th-grade student at Berean Christian High School, where she plays first-chair flute in the band. She was selected to perform with the Association of Christian Schools International Honor Band and Orchestra and participate at the Northern California Youth Camp in Carmel with flutists that come from around the world to study with major symphony professionals. Currently Elizabeth is principal flute for the Young Artist Symphony Orchestra in Walnut Creek. She was given the opportunity to tour with the orchestra in Europe last summer.
Elizabeth is a hard-working, dedicated student who pushes herself musically and technically for outstanding performance.
Contributed by Kathleen R. Flemming