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(Posted 7:30 p.m., Feb. 26)

Gloucester Music Teachers Association honours top students
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Some of this year's Gloucester Music Teachers Association award recipients show off their trophies during the First Class Honours recital on Sunday. Fred Sherwin/Photo


Members of the Gloucester Music Teachers Association honoured its top students with not one but two recitals and awards ceremony on Sunday.

The double recital was needed due to the sheer number of students who received a First Class Honour mark of 80 or above on their Royal Conservatory of Music exam last year, and therefore were eligible to perform.

Twenty-two very gifted young people took part in the first recital, followed by 17 students in the second performance.

In between the two concerts, trophies were handed out to the student receiving the top mark in each Grade level, as well as certificates for the top marks in musical theory and a special award for the student showing exceptional determination.

All but one of the students who received a performance award had a achieved a mark of 90 or higher. Bethany Lau received the highest adjudicated score which was 97. Only two per cent of the students who take the RCM exam attain a score above 90.

All of the reward recipients also performed in on of the two recitals, making for a very entertaining evening of classical music.

The first recital was kicked off by guest performer Declan Lavoie who was awarded the Gloucester Music Teachers Association scholarship at last year's Kiwanis Music Festival.

Lavoie played a beautiful rendition of Salut d'Amore on violin accompanied by Tea Mamaladze on piano.

There were a number of highlights during the first concert including Frank Boothroyd's performance of Giovanni Pescetti's Sonata in C Minor, and Camille Riopelle's Fur Elise by Beethoven.

Among the award recipients who performed in the first recital were Grade 1 award winner Aja Penny, Grade 2 recipients Alexandre Hou and Reta-Anne McKay, Preparatory B winners Noah Lau and Shannon Webster, Grade 4 recipient Bethany Lau, Grade 5 winner Emily Hou, Grade 6 recipient Meghan Lau, and Grade 9 winner Kevin Yang.

Yang's accomplishment is exceptional in that he has only just turned 12. Most young musicians don't start the RCM exam process until they are six or seven years old, which means they're not ready to take the Grade 9 exam until they are 16 or 17.

Yang began playing piano when he was four and practices at least two hours a day, seven days a week. His teacher Heather Norian can't say enough about her young prodigy.

"He has a maturity way beyond his years," says Norian. "He is so dedicated, so professional, so focused, and he's incredibly humble as well. To attain his Grade 9 and to do so with First Class Honours with Distinction is an incredible accomplishment at such a young age."

Yang is currently in Grade 8 at Henry Larsen Elementary School, where he is an exceptional student as well as a gifted pianist.

The first concert also featured four members of the Lau family, three of whom received performance awards for achieving the top mark at their respective grade level. Their proud mother Amy watched on from the audience as they each performed. Their father had to stay home to look after the other two Lau siblings who are two months and four years old.

Despite having two standup pianos and a digital piano in their home, the siblings have to take turns in order to practice. The two older siblings, Bethany, 12, and Meghan, 14, have also taking up the violin, making for a very musical household.

As entertaining as the first recital was, the second concert was truly magical as each young musician performed flawlessly including Catherine Gallagher who performed Mozart's Sonata in F+, and Grade 8 award recipient Rosalie Seguin-Lemay who sang "Bel piacere" from Handel's "Agrippina".

Other standout performances included fellow Grade 8 award winner Amy Li recital of Mozart's Sonata, K 330; Grade 6 recipient Evan Klein's beautiful rendition of Beethoven's Sonata, Op. 27 No.2; and Irene Grose's performance of Beethoven's Bagatelle, Op. 33 No. 1.

But the twin highlights of the night were Danielle Lemieux's breathtaking rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserable, and Max Fu's outstanding performance of Franz Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 in A-flat Major which brought the evening to a dramatic close.

Most if not all of the young musicians will be competing in the upcoming Kiwanis Music Festival which gets underway at a variety of different venues around the city on April 8 and continues until the 27th.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

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