A! Magazine for the Arts

Thomas O'Neill

Thomas O'Neill

Bristol Music Club Announces Winners of the 2018 Scholarship Auditions

June 6, 2018

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - The Bristol Music Club held its annual Scholarship Auditions Saturday, May 5, at the First Presbyterian Church, Bristol, Tennessee. Judges for the competition were Dr. Kellie Brown, Shea A. Clay, Dr. Harold McKinney and Dr. Melody Payne. Thirty-one students competed in voice, piano, strings and wind instruments.

At the Winners' Recital May 6 at First Presbyterian Church, Bristol, Tennessee, prizes were awarded in four grade levels: Division I, high school seniors planning to study music in college; Division II, grades 10 - 12; Division III, grades 7 - 9; and Division IV, grades 4 - 6. In addition a winner was chosen to receive the Paramount Chamber Players Award.

Accompanists for students at the Winners' Recital were Talitha Pigford, Stephanie Yoder and Christopher Yoder.

In Division I, first place was awarded to Thomas O'Neill, tenor. His voice teacher is Rachel Helton. He is the son of Doc and Jennifer O'Neill and is a senior at Patrick Henry High School. Thomas was the 2016 first place winner in Division II. Each year from 2014 through 2017, he has won first place in regional competitions hosted by the National Association Teachers of Singing. O'Neill earned first place in the Schmidt Vocal Competition in 2017 and was a soloist with the Symphony of the Mountains in both 2014 and 2017. He attended Brevard Music Center in 2015 and 2016, as well as the Franco-American Vocal Academy, Salzburg, Austria in 2017. His plans include study this year at the Scuola Italia Opera Program in Sant' Angelo in Vado, Italy. He is headed to the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston for his college study.

O'Neill was also the winner, for the second time, of the Paramount Chamber Players Award. He performs again with the Paramount Chamber Players in their 2018-2019 season.

Gao Yung Chen won the Division I second place award, performing on alto saxophone. He is a student of Thomas Crawford and the son of Kong Ying Wei and Xian Chen. At the Brevard Music Center he played principal saxophone in 2017. He is a 2018 winner of the John Phillip Sousa Band Award, which recognizes superior musicianship and outstanding dedication. He was first chair in the All District Band in 2017 and 2018 and was an All-State competitor in 2017 and 2018. He plans to attend Dartmouth College, where he will study with Prof. Michael Zsoldos and participate in the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble.

Honorable Mention in Division I was awarded to Isaiah Hutton, baritone. He is a student of Mark Davis. His parents are Dawn and Travis Hutton. Isaiah is a senior at Chilhowie High School and has sung in the All-State Choir.

In Division II, first place was awarded to Natalie Lugo, performing on cello. The daughter of Ralph and Dawn Lugo, Lugo studies with Dr. Wesley Baldwin at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She is a seven-time prizewinner of the Bristol Music Club Scholarship Auditions, including three first-place awards. Lugo is the principal cellist of the ETSU Chamber Orchestra and teaches cello to students ages 4 - 17. She is also a soprano section leader in the Highlands Youth Ensemble and has sung twice in Carnegie Hall. In February 2018 she was selected for the American Choral Directors Association Southern Region Senior High Honor Choir.

Division II Second Place was awarded to Rachel Locke, soprano, who has studied with Nancy Marcum for the past five years. Locke is a senior at Virginia High School, where she has sung in the Chorale from 2014 through 2018. She was also named to the All-State Choir in 2018. She has acted in numerous plays produced at her school, at Theatre Bristol, and at Barter Theatre. She was named Virginia High School's "Best Actress" in 2016. In 2015 she was the winner of the Broadway Comes to Greeneville Youth Talent Search.

Laura Dugan, performing on clarinet, was chosen as a Honorable Mention winner in Division II. Dugan studies with Thomas Crawford and is the daughter of Jeff and Annemarie Dugan. She is in the tenth grade at Science Hill High School. She has played in the Science Hill High School's wind ensemble and marching band and participated in the East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association's honor concert bands in 2017 and 2018. Dugan earned a seat in the Tennessee Music Educators Association All-State concert band in 2017 and 2018. In addition, she has played in an orchestra for the Kingsport Theatre Guild and participates in handbell and orchestra ensembles at Central Baptist Church in Johnson City. She has also played with the Johnson City Community Band. Dugan has been involved in several Trinity Arts Center musical theatre productions. She won first place in the physical science division at the Upper East Tennessee Science Fair in 2016.

The Division III First Place winner was pianist Emily Cai, who studies with Carol Stone. Cai, daughter of Hongjuan Wang and Kejun Cai, is in the ninth grade at Dobyns Bennett High School. In 2014 and 2015 she received superior ratings in the Tennessee Music Teachers Association state auditions. She also received Honorable Mention in the Carmel Klavier International piano competition in 2017.

The Second Place winner in Division III was Audra Horton, on alto saxophone, who studies with Thomas Crawford. The daughter of Gary and Susan Horton, Horton is an honor roll student in the eighth grade at Damascus Middle School. She has played in the Washington County, Virginia, All-County Band, earning first chair in 2017 and 2018. She has also played in the All District Symphonic Band in 2017 and 2018, as first chair in 2018. For two years, she earned Superior ratings in Solo and Ensemble auditions. She has played in the Euclid Avenue Baptist Church orchestra since 2016. In addition to her musical activities, she plays competitive tennis.

Honorable Mention in Division III was awarded to Amy Shi, who studies piano with Connie Wurster. The daughter of Zhongshou Shi and Qiooxia Shen, Shi is in the eighth grade at Vance Middle School. In 2016 she received the Don Davis Award in Band and in 2018 she entered the Optimist Oratorical Speech Contest.

The First Place prize in Division IV was awarded to vocalist Julie Dugger, who studies with Sabrina Hess. Dugger's parents are Travis and Tara Dugger. She is in the fourth grade at Cherokee Elementary School. She has recently been a cast member of the Kingsport Theatre Guild's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in April 2018. In 2017, she participated in the Broadway Comes to Greeneville event.

The Bristol Music Club is more than 100 years old and is affiliated with the Tennessee Federation of Music Clubs and the National Federation of Music Clubs.

For more information, call Ann Holler at 423-652-7462 or email aholler@btes.tv.