A! Magazine for the Arts

Michael David Rees, first place winner Division one

Michael David Rees, first place winner Division one

Music Club announces winners

June 29, 2021

The Bristol Music Club held Scholarship Auditions in May at First Presbyterian Church, Bristol, Tennessee. Judges were Cori James from Kingsport for strings; Dr. Peter Ryan from UVA Wise for piano; Dr. Lisa Perry from ETSU for woodwinds; and Chris Bingham from Bristol for voice.

The Division One auditions specify that entrants are seniors in high school who plan to study music in college.

The first-place winner in Division One was vocalist Michael David Rees, a homeschooled high school senior. He is the son of Timothy and Grace Rees. He has earned superior ratings three years in the National Federation of Music Clubs Festival and second place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing. In 2019 Rees was a second-place winner in Division Two of the Bristol Music Club Scholarship Auditions. He has performed with the Logos Theater in South Carolina and participated in an Honors Choir at Carnegie Hall in 2020. For more than five years, he has led a large local Live-Action-Role-Play group. Before enrolling in college, he plans to continue his private voice lessons with his teacher, Mason Van Horn.

Soprano Lauren Haas is the second-place winner in Division One. She is a senior at Sullivan South High School and the daughter of Sarah and Michael Haas. Her private voiceteacher is Ivy Blair. In high school she has participated in choir, theater and musical theater, the Tennessee All East Choir and All State Choir. In 2020 she attended the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts. This fall Haas plans to continue her music studies at Belmont University.

The Division One third-place winner was soprano Mary Andrea Lundin, a senior at Sullivan East High School. The daughter of Tony and Kim Lundin, she studies voice with Rachel Helton. Lundin has sung in the Sullivan East High School choirs and the Highlands Youth Ensemble directed by Jane Morison, as well as the Tennessee All East and All State choirs. As a violinist, she has studied in the Academy of Strings directed by Tim and Kim Barrett and has played in the ETSU Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia. She plans to attend East Tennessee State University, where she will pursue a minor in music and join the honors college in the Global Citizens scholars program.

Division Two contestants are students in grades 10, 11 and 12 not in Division One.

Grace Whitten, the first-place winner in Division Two, attends Elizabethton High School in grade 10. She is the daughter of Anne Whitten and Jose Gonzalez and studies flute with Martha Avaleen Egan. Whitten has won a number of honors in Solo and Ensemble Master Class, Junior and Senior Clinic, and the Elizabethton High School Band. In addition, she has played in the Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra and the Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps. In 2020 and 2021, she was accepted into the virtual Oberlin College and Conservatory Flute Boot Camp and the virtual Aria International Summer Academy Flute Boot Camp.

Cellist Mengdie (Michael) Hu earned the second-place prize in Division Two. His parents are Wei Hu and Shuling Yang. He is in the 10th grade at Science Hill High School and studies with Dr. Sean Hawthorne. He has participated in the 2020 and 2021 Tennessee All State Orchestras and was first chair cello in the 2019 and 2020 All City Orchestras in Lincoln, Nebraska.

As a voice student of Ivy Blair, soprano Kelly Patrick tied for third place in Division Two. She is in 10th grade at Science Hill High School. Her parents are Tamara Westmoreland and Dru Patrick. Patrick earned a superior rating in the 2021 auditions of the Appalachian Music Teachers Association as well as Honors three years in auditions of the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has sung in the All-East Tennessee Choir in 2018 and the Honors Junior Choir in Carnegie Hall in 2017. She performed with Broadway Comes to Greeneville in 2017 and 2018. In addition, Kelly was a second-place winner in the 2017 Bristol Music Club auditions.

Soprano Lucy Tester tied for the third-place prize in Division Two. She attends Virginia High School in the 10th grade. She is the daughter of Amy and Daniel Tester and studies voice with Megan Taylor. She sang in the 2021 Virginia All State Choir and took first place in the Appalachian Fair Youth Talent Contest in 2019. Tester was cast as Annie in Theatre Bristol's production of“Annie”in 2018.

Division Three contestants are in grades seven, eight and nine.

The first-place winner was Caroline Caveness, who studied alto saxophone with the late Tom Crawford. Her parents are Bryant and Michelle Caveness. She attends Dobyns-Bennett High School in grade nine. She was selected as a freshman to the 2020/2021 Dobyns-Bennett High School Wind Ensemble. Her first chair positions have been in the All-East Honor Band and the 2021 Tennessee All-State Band. At Robinson Middle School, Caveness played first chair alto saxophone in the band and was a member of the Junior Clinic bands two years. She also earned superior ratings at Solo and Ensemble three years.

Aylin Ballard won the second-place prize in Division Three. A seventh grader in the Home life Academy, she is the daughter of Matt and Erika Ballard. As a soprano, she studies voice with Ivy Blair. Ballard earned a superior rating in the Appalachian Music Teachers Association 2020 auditions. Among her artistic activities are studies and performances at Blair Academy, Barter Youth Academy, Theatre Arts Inc. in Tulsa Oklahoma, Ballroom dancing, Tri-Cities Homeschool Band, Kingsport Ballet and MECCA choir.

The third-place winner in Division Three was pianist Allen Feng. He attends Science Hill High School as a ninth grader. His parents are Wenlai Feng and Minxia Lu. Feng studies piano with Jerilyn Paolini. He is a previous winner of the Bristol Music Club Scholarship auditions in Division Four (first place) and Division Three (third place). While in sixth grade, he was a third-place winner in the 2018 piano solo competition of the Tennessee Music Teachers Association. In 2019, he won first place at the junior high level of the Grand Virtuoso Piano Competition. As a percussionist, he earned first place in the Junior Clinic Honor Band in 2019 and 2020.

Division Four contestants are in grades four, five and six.

In her first competition, pianist Yuyan (Julia) Hu was the first-place winner in Division Four. She attends Indian Trail Intermediate School in grade five. Her parents are Wei Hu and Shuling Yang. Yuyan studies piano with Dr. Michaela Ková?ová. Yuyan also plays violin in the ETSU pre-college program with Dr. David Ková.

The second-place winner in Division Four was violinist Eliana Kováová. She is a six grader at Homelife Academy and is the daughter of Michaela and David Ková. She studies violin at the Academy of Strings with Tim Barrett. She has performed in the ETSU Pre-College Sinfonia chamber orchestra concert several years and played in the ETSU Chamber Music Festival in the summer of 2019. From 2015 to 2019 she performed in the Heartland Chamber Music Junior Festival, including a solo performance with the Junior Chamber Orchestra. She has earned numerous prizes in solo and ensemble strings in competitions of bothTennessee and Kansas Music Teachers Associations. As a student and company dancer with Kingsport Ballet since 2016, Kováová has participated in many recitals and productions, including “Nutcracker,” “Coppelia,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Don Quixote.”

Caroline Ning won the third prize in Division Four on piano, which she studies with Jerilyn Paolini. Her parents are Ling Wang and Shunbin Ning. She has earned superior ratings every year from 2016 through 2019 in auditions sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs and the Tennessee Music Teachers Association.