The Vernon Community Music School enjoyed a bumper year in strings awards at the 2018 Performing Arts B.C. Provincial Festival.
Adjudicators at the Provincial Festival, which was held in Victoria from May 29 to June 2, awarded Marcus Coetzee and Angela Zeng first place in the Junior A and Junior B Strings categories respectively, while Holly McCallum (Intermediate Strings) and Libby Wise (Senior Strings) were each named runner-up in their categories.
All four are students at the Vernon Community Music School: Coetzee and Wise study violin with Bev Martens, while Zeng and McCallum study cello with Morna Howie.
At the Provincial Festival, each strings student is adjudicated on their performance of two contrasting works. VCMS students performed works by Bach, Bruch, Dvorak, Mozart, Monti and Kabalevsky, among others.
The performances were adjudicated by Jeremy van Dieman and Rafael Hoekman. Van Dieman is an accomplished violinist who has performed in 27 countries on five continents, including as soloist for such dignitaries as US President Gerald Ford and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, while Hoekman is the founding cellist of the Tokai String Quartet and is currently principal cellist of the Edmonton Symphony.
“The awards are a testament to the level of teaching and musicianship being fostered in the Okanagan,” a VCMS spokesperson said in a release.
Participation in the Provincial Festival is by nomination: music students from all over B.C. must first compete at their regional festivals, where adjudicators then nominate candidates to represent them at the Provincial Festival. This year, 39 students from as far afield as Vancouver, Powell River, Fraser Valley and Prince George were nominated for the Junior A & B, Intermediate and Senior Strings categories.
Coetzee, together with Emily Traversy (Kelowna), and Elise Wiesinger (Penticton) also competed as the Violin Trio The Wooden Boxes and were awarded runner-up in the Intermediate Chamber Music category.
Winners from each category performed at evening highlights concerts, which were held in the Philip T Young Recital Hall at the University of Victoria.