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David Burton

First place winner: David Burton

Justin Lewis (second place), David Burton (first place), and Jordan Busa (third place).
(Left to right) Justin Lewis (second place), David Burton (first place), and Jordan Busa (third place).

Sentinel News Service

The Georgia Laster Branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) held its Annual High School Scholarship Competition on Saturday, May 8, 2010, in the sanctuary of the Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship. Thirteen talented students competed for cash prizes in support of their musical education.

In addition, the winners will have a performance opportunity on the annual Georgia Laster Branch Fundraiser Concert, which will be held on July 11, 2010 (the second Sunday in July), at Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Blvd. at 5:00 p.m. Also featured on that program will be The Spirit Chorale under the direction of Byron Smith, noted local composer, educator and choir director.  Donations in support of the scholarship fundraiser concert are $20 in advance and $25 at the door on the day of the concert.  Free parking is available adjacent to the church.

The first-place winner, David Burton, a junior at Harvard Westlake High School, Studio City, CA, is a classical pianist. His selection was "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Johann Sebastian Bach. Second- place winner, Justin Lewis, a sophomore at Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, (LACHSA) is a classical vocalist (baritone.) His selection was "Pieta Signore" by Alessandro Stradella, accompanied by Kyle Moore on piano. The third-place winner, Jordan Busa, a sophomore at Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, CA, is a classical violinist. His selection was the unaccompanied "Sonata #1 in G Minor, Adagio" by Johann Sebastian Bach.

All three winners played and sang beautifully, with poise and skills well beyond their years, a tribute to their talent and expertise.

It is to be noted that this year, all winners were classical musicians and chose music out of the classical idiom. We wish them much success in their future endeavors.

Also participating in the competition were Victoria Rosser, musical theatre vocalist and senior at Orange County High School for the Arts (OCHSA); Vivian Ridgeway, musical theatre vocalist; Teira Church, jazz vocalist and senior at the Hamilton High School Academy of Music, Los Angeles; DaQuan Robinson, classical pianist and junior at the Hamilton High School Academy of Music; Jennifer Rockett, musical theatre vocalist and senior at Renaissance High School for the Arts, Long Beach; DeJa Marie Montgomery, classical jazz pianist and junior at Renaissance High School for the Arts; Dwayne Louderrmilk, classical pianist and sophomore at Renaissance High School for the Arts;  Victor Ekpo, classical violinist and freshman at Renaissance Arts Academy, Los Angeles; Sulwe Green, classical pianist and freshman at Culver City High School; Amira Bennett, classical violist and senior at Culver City High School.

Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1919, NANM is the country's oldest organization dedicated to the preservation, encouragement and advocacy of all genres of the music created or performed by African Americans.

Further information on the organization can be found on the national website. Every year, each branch holds a scholarship competition, gives awards to its own winners and recommends winners for further regional and national competitions. Last year, the national NANM winner was Ryan Bancroft from the Emma Hammett Porter Branch here in the Southern California area. Ryan plays trumpet, flute and harp; is a music student at Cal Arts in Valencia, pursuing both composition and conducting; and has been a regular member of the Southeast Symphony Orchestra for many years.

Mamie Henry is the President of the Georgia Laster branch of NANM. Dorothy Jackson-Hayes is the scholarship chairperson, assisted by Gloria Lindsay.

The public is cordially invited to attend the scholarship fundraiser concert in July.For further information regarding the concert, please call (661) 273-1744.

Category: News


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