Young musicians shine at scholarship concerts

From left: John and Jean Irvine, Irvine scholarship winner, Chris Chen, and Julie and Warwick Irvine

The winner of this year’s Irvine Family Piano Scholarship is Year 12 Central Coast Grammar School student Chris Chen.

The scholarship was one of several awards handed out on May 22 following two days of the annual Music Scholarship concerts hosted by Pearl Beach Progress Association last weekend.

Held in partnership with the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, the annual awards concerts have been running since 2005, offering performance opportunities to students who have excelled in their chosen fields.

Chen performed works by Clementi, Albeniz and Chopin to take the $1,000 scholarship.

He has been playing for 11 years and has received numerous accolades over the years.

The $1,000 2022 Pearl Beach Music Scholarship, sponsored by Pearly’s Cafe, was won by vocalist Mia Cross, who gave renditions of Meadowlark and The Girl in 14G.

Adjudicator, Benjamin Kopp, said he was generally moved with the high quality and talent presented over the weekend, making it extremely difficult to choose recipients.

Russell Grove, President of the Pearl Beach Progress Association, presented the popular People’s Choice Award valued at $500 in memory of his late wife Frances to 15-year-old violinist Kaito Deed.

“Frances was an avid musician all her life; she started studying piano at age eight and continued her love of music through professional roles in schools and private tuition,” Grove said.

“Whenever possible she fostered and nurtured that love of music with young people.

“I congratulate Kaito on his amazing performance.”

The new People’s Choice Runner Up award of $250, sponsored by Coast Realty, was presented to violinist Minjy Lee, a 14-year-old Narara Valley High School student who played Violin Sonata No.5 by Beethoven and Spring I Allegro by Vivaldi.

Guest performers this year were 2021 Pearl Beach Scholarship winner Kayla Lush, who has been playing flute since she was six years old, and past Irvine Piano Scholarship winner, Kimberly Gilbert.

Accompanist for the two days of concerts was Noah Peres.

The Junior Showcase concert, introduced in 2013 to celebrate solo instrument and vocal performance by the Central Coast Conservatorium junior students, was a highlight of the weekend, with a diverse program performed by 10 students, the youngest of them just eight years old.

Media release, May 31
Pearl Beach Progress Association

The Music Scholarship participants with guest performer, Kayla Lush Photos: Nicky Castle, Conservatorium Events