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Teen pianists to compete for scholarships, cash

by Luanne Williams

Do you love piano and want to study music in college? This opportunity is for you.

High school students looking to study piano in college can compete Saturday for a $21,000-a-year scholarship to Wingate University. The second annual Wingate Piano Competition also features a middle-school category with cash prizes.

David Brooks stands in front of a piano.

David Brooks, assistant music professor, started the event last year 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. “The mental preparation and practice that you have to do to compete is really astounding, especially for young students. … It’s a measure of technique and expression, resilience and grit all put together.”

High school students will be asked to perform two memorized, contrasting pieces of their choice from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary periods; middle schoolers will perform just one. Registration will remain open until Friday afternoon. 

All participants will get feedback from judges. First- and second-place high school winners will earn music scholarships to Wingate and cash prizes provided by Miller Piano Company ($300 for first and $200 for second) as well as certificates. A Charlotte business started by the sons of Ohio piano manufacturer Edwin Miller in 1978, Miller Piano is now in its third generation.

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 Foundation was established in response to a very real and growing awareness of the need for beautiful art and music in our community," says Deborah Neuhs, president of the Foundation. "It is our mission to help meet this need by supporting young artists and musicians who are pursuing their studies to a high standard of beauty and excellence. Your program is a wonderful fit with our mission."

The second-place winner will receive $200 and a certificate. That cash award will be funded by a group of alumni and family members of the late Helena Munn in her memory. Munn loved piano and served her church for many years as pianist and organist.

The first-place winner in each age bracket will be invited to perform in the University’s 2019 “Decades Recital,” set for early next spring. For that event, a particular decade is chosen and faculty members, piano students and alumni perform music written in that time period.

Performances for Saturday’s competition will begin at 10 a.m. in the recital hall of the George A. Batte Jr., Fine Arts Center at 403 North Camden Road, Wingate. The awards will be announced shortly after the end of the performances.

To register for the competition, pianists should simply email the word “register” to and wait for further details. Click here to learn more about studying piano at Wingate.

Oct. 9, 2018