Showcasing the musical talent of peninsula youths

School-aged children from Chimacum to Port Angeles will be given the opportunity to dazzle the grown-ups with their skills on instruments including the violin, harp, piano, marimba and saxophone on Jan. 26.

For the 22nd year, the Port Angeles Symphony will host the Young Artist Competition and the Junior Young Artist Competition, during which 24 of the peninsula’s most talented junior musicians will vie for the top prize in each division.

“We have two age groups, (one is) what we call our Junior Young Artist group, which is children ninth grade or younger,” said youth committee chairwoman Barbara Mason, who added that the first prize for that division is $300. “Then we have an older group of competitors that can’t be older than 22, which is basically through college-age.”

Mason added that there is no limit to how young those competing in the older group can be, and mentioned that there are children as young as eighth grade competing in the older division.

“There you have your real prodigies,” said Mason, who explained some talented children who could be qualified for the junior division might decide to compete in the older group because of the $1,000 cash prize.

During the competition, the contestants are free to play anything they think is appropriate, but cannot play for longer than 10 minutes.

“They need to be instrumental music students, which I suppose eliminates things like the banjo,” she said. “They need to play an instrument that would be playable in the orchestra.”

The four adjudicators, set to judge and give feedback to the contestants, are symphony conductor Adam Stern, North Olympic Youth Symphony director Kristin Brye, symphony flutist Judy Johnson and symphony violinist Mary Moon.

“The contestants get feedback on the spot … which is really very nice,” Mason said. “That doesn’t really happen when you are older.”

Mason said the winners of the competition would be announced at the end of the six-hour event.

“(The competition) is really to showcase … our young musicians and … what our youngsters can do,” Mason said. “It also helps showcase what our schools are doing in terms of music. It’s great to watch.”

Musical prodigies

Who: Port Angeles Symphony

What: 22nd annual Young Artist and Junior Young Artist competitions

When: Jan. 26, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Where: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 Lopez Ave., Port Angeles

Tickets: No cost

Contact: Port Angeles Symphony, 457-5579.

The weekend before the youth competition, the Port Angeles Symphony chamber orchestra is holding a grown-up concert of its own. At 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles and Jan. 19 at the Sequim Worship Center, the orchestra will be playing a variety of French-based songs, including Pastorale d’ete and Petite Symphonie for Winds. Tickets will be available at the door, but can be purchased at the Buzz in Sequim or by calling 457-5579.

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