Marietta Southard (left) and Mary Wynn Willson, who will perform May 5 in the Young Artists’ Recital sponsored by the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, prepare for their duet after violin practice April 25. (Photo by Samantha Cole, Daily News Record)

Young Artists’ Program Gives Gifted Place To Play

Young virtuosos in the Valley aren’t shy about striking the right notes.

“The bar keeps being raised,” says Mary Kay Adams, executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.

On May 5 at 3 p.m., eight teenagers will take the spotlight in Eastern Mennonite University’s Martin Chapel, for the Young Artists’ Recital, sponsored by the festival.

“Over time, and because of the influence from my family, singing has become something that I almost cannot live without,” says Allison Burks, a junior at Spotswood High School.

Burks will sing “The Light in the Piazza” by Adam Guettel. The soprano found her voice early in life: Growing up in a “musical family,” she says, made singing a way to connect and share, “whether at church, around the dinner table, in the car, or before going to sleep.”

A Musical Childhood
Mary Wynn Willson, 18, of Fort Defiance, also grew up surrounded by song. Her parents always encouraged she and her 11 siblings to pick up instruments and play.

It wasn’t until a few years ago, however, that the senior home school student fully appreciated the violin’s place on her shoulder and in her life.

“What music has taught me in life is that it is a wonderful gift, which is capable of bringing joy into people’s lives,” she said. “[My parents] have taught us that we should always should always play for the glory of God.”

Willson will play a violin duet, “Double Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins” by Johann Sebastian Bach, with Turner Ashby senior Mariette Southard.

Playing with a partner, says Willson, quells the nerves — even after playing in the Young Artists’ Recital two years ago.

Burks has prepared for her part with the usual lessons, and also weaving songs through daily life: talking through lyrics, listening and singing.

She hopes the audience will be inspired to learn their own instrument; it’s taught her how to express herself through, whether in frustration, sadness or excitement.

“Through music, I am able to share with others my feelings, my thoughts, my beliefs,” says Burks. “I can connect with people better through music than I can through words.

“It has given me a way to share my emotions and show people who I am.”

Other young artists include:
Isabella Ciambiotti, viola, sophomore from Charlottesville High School,
Meredith Hooper, cello, freshman from Albermarle High School,
Breton Nicholas, horn, graduate of Harrisonburg High School,
Morgan Short, harp, 15-year-old homschool student,
Vivek Srivatsa, violin, senior from Charlottesville High School.

For more information on the Young Artists’ Recital, contact Adams at (540) 432-4652.

Courtesy Daily News Record, May 2, 2013