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Fifth annual Wingate Piano Competition set for Nov. 6

By Luanne Williams

It’s been five years since Wingate University began offering what piano professor David Brooks calls “the lowest-stress, highest-reward competition that most young musicians will ever encounter.”

The annual event, which gives high school students a shot at a $21,000-a-year scholarship and also features a middle-school category with cash prizes is set for Nov. 6 at the George A. Batte Jr. Fine Arts Center.

Brooks and his wife, fellow music professor Annie Stankovic, started the Wingate Piano Competition as a way to showcase the talents of veteran piano competitors as well as those who have never taken part in a contest.

“Win or lose, you will get a really good experience out of the competition,” Brooks says. Last year's event was held online because of the pandemic. This year, organizers are excited to welcome pianists back to campus.

Contestants in the high school category will be asked to perform three contrasting pieces of their choice from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary periods; middle-schoolers will perform two. Memorization is preferred, but not required, and registration for the competition closes Nov. 1. 

All participants will get feedback from judges. First- and second-place high school winners will earn music scholarships to Wingate and cash prizes ($300 for first and $200 for second) as well as certificates.

At the middle school level, the first-place winner – winner of the Charlotte Area Foundation for Music and Art Award – will earn $300 and a certificate. The second-place winner will receive $200 and a certificate. 

In addition to these prizes, the first- and second-place high school winners will be awarded two free lessons with Brooks, while the first- and second-place middle school winners receive one free lesson each. The lessons will be offered either virtually or in-person and socially distanced on the Wingate campus. 

Performances for the piano competition will begin at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6 in the Plyler-Griffin Recital Hall of the George A. Batte Jr., Fine Arts Center at 403 North Camden Road, Wingate. Winners will be announced shortly after the end of the performances. Face coverings are required inside campus buildings.

Learn more about studying piano at Wingate or apply for the competition.

Oct. 26, 2021