Auditions for these six coveted awards are held in January every year. Those auditioning must play their pieces from memory before a team of three judges. Each awardee receives $250. Since the talent scholarship program started in 1996, the program has awarded 108 talent scholarships to talented young people in the community.
Ranging in age from 10 to 16, they are from DeKalb, Sycamore and Oswego and will perform works by Beethoven, Squire, Bruch and Mozart.
At the elementary age level, Reilly Farrell (piano) is 10 and is in fourth grade at St. Mary School in DeKalb. He is the son of Robb and Tammy Farrell and studies piano with Marilyn Montzka. Karl Peterson (guitar) is 10 and in fifth grade at North Elementary School in Sycamore. He is the son of Craig and Doris Peterson and studies guitar with Eric Schroeder.
At the junior age level, Joon Park (violin) is 12 and is in sixth grade at Sycamore Middle School. He is the son of Tim Campbell and Seunghee Shin and studies violin with Karen Weckerly. Kjelden Breidenbach (cello) is 14 and is in eighth grade at Sycamore Middle School. He is the son of Bob and Julie Breidenbach and studies cello with Linc Smelser.
At the senior level, Emma Olson (piano) is 15 and is a sophomore at Sycamore High School. She is the daughter of Ken and Janet Olson and studies piano with Montzka. Madeline Alvendia (viola) is 16 and a junior at Oswego East High School. She is the daughter of Stephanie and Walter Alvendia and studies viola with Ann Montzka-Smelser.
The money for the awards comes from the community school’s scholarship fund. In addition to the talent scholarships, the program also awards need scholarships. Since 1993, more than 750 scholarships have been awarded to area students to pursue their study of the arts with the community school.
Many community school students are performing Saturday, March 15, in the Music Building at Performathon, a major scholarship fundraising event.