Winners named in Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship Competition

Angelina Ye, first-place winner in the Junior Strings division. (Photo by Tom Clabough)
Cameron Rockwell, first-place winner in the College Piano/Strings division. (Photo by Tom Clabough)
Christian Collins, first-place winner in the Junior Piano division. (Photo by Tom Clabough)

Staff Report

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center has announced the winners of the 51st Annual Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship Competition, which took place Feb. 25.

First-place winners in each category performed in a Winners’ Recital Sunday, Feb. 26, at Second Congregational United Church of Christ, and all winners were recognized.

Competition judge Dan Surma, from St. Xavier University in Chicago, said of the event, “My whole impression of Rockford has really gone up.”

Senior Strings first-place winner Kristiana McCombs said, “If it weren’t for this competition, I probably wouldn’t be as serious [about music] as I am.”

This was the first year the Jean Coppoletti “Joy and Inspiration” Award was presented to a senior voice student. The award was presented to Adie Brown, who the judges felt expressed true joy and inspiration through her singing.

Following are the winners, by category:

Elementary Piano — 1. Winnie Louh; 2. Andrew Leston; 3. Emily Chan; 4. Kodai Speich; and Honorable Mention: Jacob Manley, Shane Temple and Kyle Tunink.

Junior Piano — 1. Christian Collins; 2. Amber Leston; 3. Douglas Chan; 4. Raymond Lee; 5. Alyssa Leston; and Honorable Mention: Michael Campa, Esha Gourikrishna, Kayleigh Manley and Charles Meyers.

Senior Piano — 1. Aileen Huizinga; 2. Quinn Furness; 3. Kenneth Yap; 4. Allison Kozinski; and Honorable Mention: Ella Caswell, Lillian Dvorak, Moriah Hellstrom and Jonathan Lee.

Elementary Strings — 1. Benjamin Rodriguez; 2. Rin Katsumata; 3. Athena Ye; 4. Kate Willette; and Honorable Mention: Christine Ryzhov.

Junior Strings — 1. Angelina Ye; 2. Chantel Davis; 3. Sofiya Kyrylyuk; 4. Alyssa Leston; and 5. William Jiang.

Senior Strings — 1. Kristiana McCombs; 2. Maya Abboud; 3. Erica Nielsen; 4. Michelle Zheng; and Honorable Mention: Aaron Brancato, Sean Johnson, Carissa McQuaid, Elijah Stanton-Gullak and Andrew Willette.

Senior Voice — 1. Hope Ross; 2. Adie Brown; 3. Sean Coyle; 4. Lillian Dvorak; and Honorable Mention: Christopher Peterson.

Senior Non-String Orchestral Instruments — 1. Paul Milius; 2. Benjamin Smelser; and Honorable Mention: Kalie Grable and Lea Matschke.

College Piano/Strings — 1. Cameron Rockwell; 2. Yuka Meseki; and Honorable Mention: Joanna Nerius.

College Voice — 1. Jared Slothower; 2. Josiah Caswell; and Honorable Mention: Kenna Johnson.

College Non-String Orchestral Instruments — 1. Nathanael Moe; 2. Samuel Randall; and Honorable Mention: Rachel Moe.

One-hundred eleven students from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, ages third grade through college, competed for monetary awards. Prominent adjudicators from throughout the region evaluated the students and critiqued their performances.

Mendelssohn is at 415 N. Church St., Rockford. More information is available at

From the Feb. 29-March 6, 2012, issue

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