Earlier this month, two young Sussex County musicians had the unique opportunity to perform onstage at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington as part of The Music School of Delaware's spring program, "Reaching for the Stars." The program featured the school's Festival Orchestra performing selections from "West Side Story" and highlighted three talented young musicians who were winners of the music school's annual Delaware Concerto Competition for Young Musicians.
These winning soloists included pianist Gray Scott, age 14, of Harrington; saxophonist Marius Sander, age 16, of Wyoming; and violinist David Clarke of Wilmington. All three are students at The Music School of Delaware.
Scott, who is home schooled, performed "Beethoven's Concerto No. 3 in c minor" accompanied by the Festival Orchestra. He chose the piece with his instructor because he felt it fit his personality. "I like the power I can portray with this piece, and the contrast in the beautiful, varying melodies," said Scott. "The piano is an awesome instrument. Playing with the orchestra on the Grand's stage helped me realize the importance of precise counting and how exhilarating it is to perform with an orchestra."
Sander, who will be a junior this fall at St. Thomas More Academy, joined the Festival Orchestra to perform the fourth and fifth movements of "Tableaux de Provence" by Paule Maurice. He chose the piece because the two movements contrasted one another and could display both his technique and musicianship.
Sander notes that performing at the Grand was quite a remarkable experience. "The hall is absolutely beautiful and truly one of Delaware's finest jewels. Looking out into the seemingly endless rows of seats really humbled me, and the acoustics were so alive!" he said. "I loved the opportunity to play with an orchestra and work with a fantastic conductor [Festival Orchestra Conductor Simeone Tartaglione]. It was an experience I won't ever forget."
Both artists were thrilled to bring their talents to the Wilmington stage and offer advice to other young musicians. Scott said, "Practice slowly and precisely. Make sure you love what you are doing." Sander advised, "Practice a lot; listen to your instructors; don't give up when the going gets tough. Also, listen to plenty of recordings; they're great for inspiration and expanding your musical understanding."
Founded in 1924, The Music School of Delaware reaches thousands of people from Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland through its instructional programs and 75 public performances each year. The school is the only nationally accredited program of its kind in Delaware and is the only statewide accredited community music school in the nation.
Open to all, the school administers a financial assistance program to help ensure music excellence for everyone, regardless of financial means. It offers programs at branch locations in Wilmington and Milford and at more than 25 satellite and outreach locations in Kent, Sussex and New Castle counties.
For more information, call the Wilmington Branch at 302-762-1132, the Milford Branch at 302-422-2043 or visit www.musicschoolofdelaware.org.
This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.