Local music students succeed at provincial festival

North Okanagan music students come home successful from Performing Arts B.C. festival in Chilliwack.

Jacob Bennett (left)

Jacob Bennett (left)

Three young Vernon musicians have just received the cherry on top of their triple scoop, with a winning performance at the Performing Arts B.C. music festival in Chilliwack last week.

Vernon’s Triple Scoop Trio, whose members all study at the Vernon Community Music School,  placed first in the junior chamber music category.

Violinist Jacob Bennett, 13, cellist Anastasia Martens, 12, and pianist Jenny Sunderland, 12, who are coached by VCMS violin/viola instructor Bev Martens, played a Haydn concerto followed by Hungarian Dance by Brahms.

“Even getting a chance to play at the provincial festival was a huge honour,” said Anastasia Martens when contacted by The Morning Star. “I feel so lucky to have been able to make music with such kind people. We had a lot of fun doing the trio.”

The Performing Arts B.C. event saw a number of local musicians, selected from regional music festivals, competing in a variety of categories.

Every year, each regional festival sends its most promising young artists between the ages of 10 and 28 to participate in the annual festival.

The five-day event encompasses special master classes, lectures, coaching, workshops, technique classes and adjudications.

In addition to Triple Scoop, the Kelowna Kiwanis Festival sent 17-year-old Enderby violinist Alyshia Black, 19-year-old cellist Mark Casson, of Spallumcheen, and 16-year-old Vernon pianist Melanie Shum, members of the piano trio 3tissimo, to the provincials, where they competed in the intermediate chamber music category.

All three students, along with Nicole Michalewicz, a 14-year-old violinist who attends Vernon Christian School, study with Vernon instructors Ken and Carol Stromberg.

Michalewicz joined Bennett, Martens and cellist Emma Schmidt, who studies at the VCMS with Morna Howie, to compete as solo artists in the junior A strings category.

Michalewicz placed first in the category, while Bennett received an honourable mention.

“I wasn’t really expecting it as a lot of the other people were good too,” said Michalewicz, who played the violin concerto by Anton Stamitz and the Polish Dance by Edmund Severn. “I received a comment from my teacher (Ken Stromberg) who said, ‘I never heard you play like that before’ and that it was a really gutsy performance. I owe a lot to the Stromberg family.”

Madeleine Haynes, a violist who also studies with Bev Martens at the VCMS, competed in the intermediate strings category after being recommended by the Kamloops Music Festival.