Yesterday, January 18th, Nita Qiu and Bea Grant performed at the Rising Stars Concerto Competition of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra held at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The competition is open to high school students from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois aged 14-18 years. The competition has two components: piano and orchestral instruments. Nita was accompanied by our Kerri LeJeune and Bea was accompanied by her mom, Maria Grant. Both accompanists are beautiful musicians and gave such sympathetic support to our two young women. Bea was granted an Honorable Mention and although we had hoped for more, we were pleased that the judges took note of her beautiful playing of the first movement of Mendelssohn's Concerto No. 1 in G minor.
Nita reached the finals and this is a very big deal. It is a big deal because the finals of the competition (which has changed greatly over the past couple of years) now occupies a major subscription concert on the orchestra's schedule. The competition also offers very substantial cash awards for the finalists - especially for a pre-college competition. Four finalists were chosen: two instrumentalists and two pianists.
The La Crosse Symphony is one of the finest small-city orchestras in the upper mid-west. They are able to attract and present some major solo artists. The concerto competition, in particular, receives genuine affection and support. The local townspeople really get behind the event and provide much energy and excitement. Jo Anne and I will be going down to hear Nita, of course, on Saturday, March 7th, performing the first movement of Chopin's Concerto No. 2 in F minor. I believe that this audience will be awed by Nita's big-minded and glorious presentation of this sublime masterpiece. Bless you, Nita! Take it to them! Join three of our other "super pianists" First Place Winners of this competition: Adam Birdsall, Austin Frohmader, and Collin Jinks.
By the way, our beloved Kenny Broberg will be performing a week later just "up the road" from La Crosse. He will be playing Brahms' colossal Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major with the Chippewa Valley Symphony in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Indeed, a small world.
Yours in Music -
Joe & Jo Anne