Competition prizes legacy of city music lovers

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By Communications Staff
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The nerves, the fear, the ego - they're all tested in music performance. When you add a competition for cash to the mix, you up the ante significantly.
 
For 18 students of the Don Wright Faculty of Music, Saturday, March 14 tested their mettle and talent. They competed in the annual London Music Scholarship Foundation competition for money to further their education at Western.

Round One of the unique competition takes place in January each year when students submit anonymous recordings to a panel of faculty members. From those, 18 are chosen to compete in Round Two, held last Saturday. Four jurists from outside the faculty select the finalists. This year, first prize was given to singer Adam Marostica; second to pianist Alan Demir; and third to cellist Katie Bestvater.

The semi-finalists represented piano, voice, strings, winds, percussion, organ and guitar studies: Leigh-Anne Allen, Grace Baker, Neal Cabigon, Jordan Clayton, Brent Crawford, Christy Derksen, Michael Oldaker, Allison Graham, Julie Grieve, Michael Pare, Gabrielle Heidinger, Michelle Kohl, Mark Prince and Paulina Taylor.

Each of the finalists received $1,500: Graham, Kohl, Baker and Derksen as well as the top three. Bestvater’s third place earned an additional $1,000; Demir another $1,500 for second place; and Marostica an additional $2,000 for top place.

The panel of judges included David Bourque, one of North America’s finest clarinet players, and a member of the Toronto Symphony; Michael Esch, pianist at the Glenn Gould School; Leslie Fagan, renowned singer; and John Gowen, double bass player with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Western is the only Canadian university to offer such a scholarship, made possible by the generosity of local music enthusiasts.
 
The scholarship was founded more than 20 years ago by Londoners, including lawyers, doctors and business owners, who loved music. When the provincial government offered a matching grant program in 1996, the group donated their funds to the university. Interest from the approximately $600,000 fund provides scholarships and pays expenses of the competition. 

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