Young Pianist Never Gives Up
Young pianist Hannah Song left the 67th annual Kiwanis Music Festival loaded down with hardware, including the prestigious Richard Blaha Memorial Silver Tray.
The judges were unanimous in their decision to award her the silver tray for the best performance at the competition at St. Andrew’s United Church.
Hannah, who at 15 has already been studying music for 11 years, was awarded a 90 and a 92 — the highest mark of the piano discipline — during the week of competitions.
She also took home the W. Ross Macdonald Trophy, the Markwell J. Perry Trophy, the Brantford Kiwanis Music Festival Trophy and the Mary C. O’Grady Memorial Trophy.
Along with the trophies, she received $1,200 in scholarship money.
“It was good,” said Hannah, who lives in Hamilton. “All competitions are good for me. I like to be competitive.”
Looking for an activity that would focus their high-energy daughter, Hannah’s parents bought an upright piano and she began studying with the Ontario Conservatory of Music at the age of four.
A couple of years later, after seeing someone playing violin on television, Hannah asked her parents for lessons in that instrument, which she continues to study.
“Hannah is very determined to get what she wants,” said her mother, Swee Song. “She wants to be a concert pianist.
“It’s not so much about how well she plays but about her attitude. She never gives up.”
Hannah just finished her Grade 10 piano exam with Shireen Moos of Burlington. Francine McIsaac of Hamilton helped her perfect her Grade 10 pieces for the Kiwanis Festival.
Naomi Morrison, who is a member of the festival organizing committee, said the 67th edition of the event was a great success.
“The adjudicators were impressed with the high level of playing and the smooth running organization of the festival,” she said.
This year there were 934 entries in nine disciplines: piano, graded piano, classical voice, musical theatre, choirs, strings, guitar, brass, woodwinds and percussion and, new this year, speech arts and drama.
The festival wants to promote the new discipline, which includes narrative verse, lyric verse, prose, Shakespeare drama, classical drama, modern drama, improv-TV surfing, and improv with props.
Morrison said speech and drama is offered at the provincial level of competition and festival organizers are trying to get the word out that it has been added locally and are hoping to get some school support for it next year.
Co-sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Brantford and the Brantford branch of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association, the festival costs about $40,000 to operate.
The event receives funding from individual donors and some grant money from local organizations. It provides winners with scholarships and awards valued at more than $12,000.