I know I've bragged about my little darling here before, but she raised her bar to new heights yesterday, and sometimes a proud papa can't resist. Tessa is a 16 YO junior and competed in the Rochester Philharmonic League's 2016 Young Artist Auditions held at the Eastman School of Music's Kilbourne Hall. It attracts the top talent for 11th and 12th grade high school students from the nine county Greater Rochester Area, and $4500 total is awarded to top contestants in several music classifications....string, woodwind, piano, voice, etc. She sang 3 classical pieces on two occasions in front of two different panels of judges that were selected by the RPL ....7 very well regarded vocal judges in all. By noon she was the unanimous recipient of the Tessa Martin award for top female vocalist of the competition, and received a $500 check. That award made her eligible to compete as a finalist for scholarship awards. Later in the day she also won the Jan De Gaetani award for top overall vocalist of the competition, along with a $1000 scholarship. Couldn't have hoped for any better outcome than that! At the beginning of the day I wondered if we even belonged there ...by the end of the day, there was no doubt! A couple of notable contestants she beat out were last year's Tessa Martin Award winner from 2015, and another senior vocal student who's been accepted at Carnegie Melon, Eastman School of Music, Syracuse University, and Ithaca College for Vocal Performance. She even received applause from the afternoon judging panel when she finished. What an amazing day!
Due in large part to the Eastman School of Music, the Rochester Philharmonic is a disproportionately talented organization for a city of this size, which in turn trickles down through just about every surrounding county in the area. Our schools are loaded with teachers who are Eastman grads, kids of Eastman grads, grand children of Eastman grads, etc....the music scene is huge in this town. This was really an honor.
As a followup to the original post, the attention from this award hasn't quite died down for us yet. Tess ended up on the RPO website, RPO Facebook page, Greece School District website and Facebook page, the Greece Post, on the cover of the June issue of GreeceNewsNY as part of a 2 page story. With each new news release, she gets another round of calls and accolades from friends, acquaintances, and family. She was invited to meet and work with some of the Eastman professors a few weeks ago, and will be performing in a recital at the Eastman's new Hatch Hall in July as a result of her awards.