Students Win Big Prizes at Solo String Festival

From Left to Right: Mr. Geoffrey Liu, music instructor/coach, Carl Magno (second place of the Debut Competitive Division), Eden Pawlos (second place and Jury Prize of the Jessie Montgomery Competitive Division), Madison Wooley (first place winner of the Jessie Montgomery Competitive Division), Avi Spillers (first place winner of the Debut Competitive Division) and Dr. Quinton Morris, Music Professor and Founder of Key to Change.

This past weekend, April 8 and 9, three students were selected as top prizewinners of the Key to Change annual Solo String Festival, held at Highline High School. These students were awarded college scholarships, will perform live in Classical King FM 98.1, receive music supplies and performance opportunities in the community. Additionally, twenty student participants received scholarships to music festivals, UNCF’s Portfolio Project and numerous music supplies that were provided by local music stores. 

Madison Wooley, a senior at Kentridge High School and a Running Start student at Green River Community College was awarded first place in the Jessie Montgomery Competitive Division. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend the University of Washington, where she will major in Psychology this fall. She will perform live on Northwest Focus Live and Unmute The Voices on Classical King FM 98.1, participate in a special masterclass with Eduardo Rios, the associate concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony and receive several musical instrument supplies and accessories. She will also participate in a summer music program at Chamber Music Madness, where she was awarded a full scholarship. 

Avi Spillers, a 7th grader at Sylvester Middle School in the Highline School District was awarded first place in the Debut Competitive Division. She will receive a $500 college scholarship that will be awarded to her upon graduation from high school. She will perform live on Northwest Focus Live and Unmute The Voices on Classical King FM 98.1, participate in a special masterclass with Eduardo Rios, the associate concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony and receive several musical instrument supplies and accessories. 

Eden Pawlos, a freshman at Kentridge High School was awarded second place in the Jessie Montgomery Competitive Division. She will perform live on Northwest Focus Live and Unmute The Voices on Classical King FM 98.1, participate in a special masterclass with Eduardo Rios, the associate concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony and receive several musical instrument supplies and accessories. She was also awarded a special Jury Award, which will allow her to perform on a handcrafted, new violin, donated by David Van Zandt, a Pacific Northwest violin maker. 

Carl Magno, a sophomore at Lindbergh High School was awarded second place in the Debut Competitive Division and was awarded a new pair of Dominant viola strings, courtesy of David Goad Violins. 

Additionally, the following students received prizes from the jury for their performances:

UNCF Portfolio Project: Desiree Hendrix, a senior at Chief Sealth High School.

A new violin to use from our instrument library: Malak Ali, a sophomore at Kent Meridian HS, Alena Kang, a junior at Tyee HS and Derek Nguyen, a sophomore at Hazen HS. 

Music Strings and Bow Hairs: Jake Johnson, a sophomore at Evergreen HS; Amariah Strand, a sophomore at Kent Meridian HS; Maddie Cole, a sophomore at Garfield HS; Jolene Nguyen, a senior at Hazen HS; Ashley Contreras-Avila, an 8th grader at Cedar Heights Middle School, Jessica Lee, a 7th grader at McKnight Middle School and Lexi Frair, a 7th grader at Sylvester Middle School. Emeraude Tshidibi and Natalie Anderson, both 7th graders at Mt. Baker Middle School and Madison Middle School received honorable mentions. 

In addition to the students competing, they performed in guest artists masterclasses with professors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These professors include Dr. LaTannia Ellerbe, strings professor at Jackson State University and Timothy Macek, violin/viola professor at Howard University. Dr. Tami Lee Hughes, violin professor at Spelman College, Sandy Yamamoto, a violin professor at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin and Dr. Anthony Spain served as adjudicators. 

The Solo String Festival was co-sponsored by Highline School District, the United Negro College Fund, City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture, US Bank and Renton Municipal Arts Commission, 4Culture and Bassetti Architects.  

 

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