Monday, February 20, 2012

Midwest Young Artists Hosts Pizza Party for Competition Participants

This weekend is a great example of why I love my job. Two weeks ago, Allan suggested that we have pizza party for the students who were coming in from out of state for the Discover National Chamber Music Competition. Could we have more things to organize?  We already had a wonderful private SoirĂ©e in a board member's home last Sunday, and the jazz combo concert was scheduled at the MYA Center on the same night.

But at MYA you can put an idea out there and it can happen!  Ember sent an email out with the invitation for pizza and a room to practice and 74 students expressed interest. She then worked with Matt to coordinate room availability. I ordered the pizza and helped Matt and students set up the South Performance Hall for the combo concert cafe style. He got the video camera set up along with the popcorn machine for the combo concert.

Thanks to jazz parent volunteers and MYA Board member, Ken Michaels, everything ran smoothly and a great time was had by all. Ken got DVDs out from last Year's Summer Program to play in the lobby (great idea since many of the students had participated in our residential summer chamber music program last year and our own students stayed to see their camp friends.) He also picked up and left a spotless kitchen while Allan and I were listening to the combos play. 

Sunday's competition was also possible thanks to parent volunteers!  Two parents, Valerie Szotzek and Jennifer Leventhal, are still coordinating volunteers and providing a fabulous lunch for the judges and volunteers, even after their children have graduated from MYA.  We couldn't provide this experience to chamber msuic ensembles from  NYC, Minneapolis, Cleveland, St. Louis, Chicago, and eighteen of our own chamber music ensembles, without volunteeer help! 

The competition was a wonderful opportunity for the students to prepare repertoire, to experience performing under pressure, and to receive feedback from a wonderful panel of judges.  The judges this year were:  Jon Boen, principal horn of Lyric Opera, Grant Park Symphony, Music of the Baroque and the Chicago Philharmonic; Yvonne Lam, violin, and Nicholas Photinos, cello, both with the 2012 Grammy Award Winner ensemble, Eighth Blackbird; Timothy McGovern, Bassoon Professor at the University of Illinois; and Tom Vignieri, Music Producer of From The Top
Pictured above is Schwarzenbach & Sons, MYA Honorable Mention in the Strings and Piano category (Michael Brown and Rania Adamczyk, violins; Boris Schwarzenbach, cello; Kyle Stalsberg, viola; and Nick Trimark, piano).  They are coached by Rosie Armbrust Griffin who will be the soloist on our March 4 Music at The Fort Recital.  If you missed her recital last year, you won't want to miss this year's.

Got to love this job!

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