Bay Chamber awards prizes to local students

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On Sunday, June 5, 2022, Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School presented its annual Young Stars of Maine Award Winners Concert at the Rockport Opera House. An enthusiastic audience filled the room to see eight talented young students from Maine perform works ranging from classical and jazz to contemporary and pop. Prizes of $1,000 each were awarded to 5 soloists and three members of a piano trio.

Hailing from Mid-coast Maine, five local winners: Ami Wolovitz, violin; Lincoln Pierce, trumpet; and members of the piano trio, Scarlet Labbe-Watson, violin; Sophia Howell, violin and Ella Ryan, piano.

Winner of the Bixler Junior Prize, Ami Wolovitz has been playing the violin since her 7th birthday. She has studied with Sarah Glenn, Anna French and Carol Preston, and is currently studying with Josie Davis at Bay Chamber Music School. Ami is now 12 and enjoys playing the violin because it’s fun to practice and satisfying to work towards a goal. In 2021, she earned 1st place in the Late Elementary Strings division of the Biennial Pine Tree Competition. Over the years, Ami has enjoyed playing in many chamber music groups in music school, participated in music camps such as the Envision Chamber Music Workshop, the Kneisel Hall program for students in Maine and the Fall String Festivals through the Maine Suzuki Association, and performed with the Bangor Youth Symphony Orchestra. She plays frequently with her pianist sister and has grown to love sight-reading. A 6th grade student at Ashwood Waldorf School, Ami also enjoys math, reading, hanging out with friends, playing with her puppy, and occasionally playing the piano.

Music is one of the most important aspects of Lincoln Pierce’s life. A Nathan Corning Jazz Prize winner, Lincoln learned many different instruments throughout his life. Being taught by a teacher or just learning them himself has always been important to him. Lincoln started playing music at the age of 6 on the piano, which taught him the basics of music and allowed him to branch out into other instruments. In fifth grade he started playing the trumpet and has been playing it ever since. He studied with countless wonderful musicians including Shelly Burcallow, Mike Whitehead, Craig Ouellette, Nancy Rowe and Bill Whitener. Lincoln began taking private lessons with Mike Whitehead in Grade 8 at Bay Chamber Music School and for the past year has studied with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra Principal Trumpet Bill Whitener. Lincoln played in both high school concert and jazz bands and helped found the CHILLS Brass Ensemble. Lincoln placed the Allstate Orchestra’s third chair in 2019 and was the Allstate Jazz and Concert Band’s second chair in 2021/22. A recent graduate from Camden Hills Regional High School, Lincoln said, “Music has taken over my life and has truly become a passion close to my heart. I encourage everyone to at least give music a chance in life as it can have a drastic effect on your well-being. It changed who I am and shaped me into a better person. I might never have chosen an instrument if it weren’t for the adults who shaped my musical career in my life, so those are the people I’m most grateful for.

The Anan Berezuik and Lindley Wook Chamber Music Prize went to Ella Ryan, a recent graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School. Music has been an important part of Ella’s life for twelve years. She studied piano with Liz Manduca in Portland Maine and Patricia Stowell and Matthew Mainster at Bay Chamber Music School. In addition to her love for the piano, she began taking violin lessons with Josie Davis over two years ago, which quickly became another musical interest. She has participated in the Envision Summer Chamber Workshop since its debut in 2016 and is currently part of the SSE Piano Trio coached by Luke Fatora. Ella was involved in chamber music year round for many years and performed in a master class for George Lopez. In the fall, she will attend Barnard College to study biology and play piano and violin.

Violinist and member of the trio, Scarlet Labbe-Watson is a sophomore at Watershed High School and has been playing the violin since the age of nine. She loves chamber music because it allows people to have conversations in a way that is deeper than using words in many ways. For the past three years she has participated in the Envision Chamber Music Workshop and this year was also accepted into the Kneisel Hall program for Maine students. Participating in chamber music during the school year through Bay Chamber and performing in their recitals is another musical activity she has done. She enjoyed attending the Winter Chamber Music Workshop hosted by Bay Chamber and Pineland Suzuki Music School for the two years it was held. She performed in masterclasses for Geoff Nuttle and George Lopez among others. WRFR also asked him to perform for their radio show. When not playing classical music, she also enjoys singing and has written her own song about climate change and its impact on her. Her hope is to use music to motivate social change and help audiences connect with their emotions.

Third member of the winning trio, Sofia Howell, a sophomore at Camden Hills Regional High School, is in her twelfth year playing the violin. Growing up learning the Suzuki method, Sofia developed a love for the self-expression aspect of classical music and was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend the Envision Chamber Music Camp. over the past few years, as well as participating in a masterclass with George Lopez. Currently studying with longtime teacher Sophie Davis, Sofia has learned the importance of playing music for fun and is inspired by the musicians around her. She hopes to continue her musical studies both as a soloist and as a chamber musician.

For more information about Bay Chamber Music School programs, please visit baychamber.org or call 207-236-2823.

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