SJC Awards Young Artists with Big Talent


Leslie L. Huerta/San Jacinto Times

The winners of the first Young Artists Competition include: (Back row, from left) first-place winners Susanna Bobbs, Daniel Chang, Stephanie Pickrell, Emma Bolton, and second-place winners Giacomo Tiznado and Zach Williams; (Bottom row, from left) first-place winners Chloe Luo and Leia Walker.

The San Jacinto College Central Campus Music Department and Bay Area Music Teachers Association (BAMTA) debuted their first Young Artist Competition on April 2 to recognize young instrumentalists with big talent. The competitors ranged from first graders to seniors in high school.

Dr. Martha Braswell, a music professor and the event originator, said the joint effort of support presents an opportunity for students to illustrate their musical talents.

“One of our goals is to get piano and music students to a place where they can work towards a goal and get recognition,” Braswell said.

Likewise, President of BAMTA, Carol Barwick, said another objective “is to promote high-quality performance of excellent literature by piano and instrumental music students.”

According to contest rules and guidelines, all instrumentalists may choose an accompanist, if preferred, as well as memorize and perform one piece of traditional concert repertory. The pianist performers were required to execute two standard pieces.

Competitor Amanda Essoh said her objective for the competition was to gain experience and strength as a performer. “This is the first time I’ve had to memorize anything,” she added.

Many of the participants performed works of art from famous pianists such as Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, and Mozart.

First place instrumentalist, Susanna Bobbs, played the violin to Felix Mendelssohn’s First Movement, Concerto in E Minor. She chose her mother, Catherine Bobbs, as her accompanist for the piece.

“We’re a team,” Susanna said. “My mother is also my piano instructor too.”

In previous years, the competition was known as the Young Artist Festival. However, due to declining participation, Central campus music department decided to team up with BAMTA.

“It’s hard to get the word out. So we contacted other music associations hoping that our instrumental numbers will grow,” Barwick said. She noted, the contest saw positive results with nearly thirty musicians in attendance.

The competition took place in Corbin Hall of the Central campus and was closed to the public. Only judges and the sound engineer were in the room. It was mostly silent. Only the sound of the judge’s pencil jotting notes could be heard until the artists began their thundering performances.

First place contestant from the sixth and seventh-grade category, Daniel Chang, said he did not care for the closed competition.

“I like playing in front of an audience better,” Chang said.

Meanwhile, Braswell said talented students start performing as early as elementary school as seen with second-grade first place winner Chloe Luo.

The competition concluded with the artists’ parents and family members attending the awards and honors recital featuring all first place winners.

Excited, Braswell expressed appreciation for the parents and teachers who contributed their time and effort to the event. She added, “I am so energized by what’s happening with our young talent today.”