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From left, Hannah Williams (front), Olivia Torrez, Jade Throneberry and Lowell Irby pose for a photo after participating in the M.A. Knox Piano Competition in Midland, Texas. (Courtesy Photo)

From left, Hannah Williams (front), Olivia Torrez, Jade Throneberry and Lowell Irby pose for a photo after participating in the M.A. Knox Piano Competition in Midland, Texas. (Courtesy Photo)

Piano students from the studios of Laney Rountree and Kandi Branch performed April 22-23 in the National Piano-Playing Auditions sponsored by the National Guild of Piano Teachers, teacher division of the American College of Musicians.

Auditions were held at First Presbyterian Church in Artesia.

Each student was striving for either Hobbyist (one to eight pieces, non-memorized), Pledge (one piece), Local (two to three pieces), District (four to six pieces), State (seven to nine pieces), National (10-14 pieces) or International (15-20 pieces) honors. All repertoire, other than Hobbyist, must be memorized and played in its entirety, and each students must be able to play the scale and cadence/chord for each piece programmed.

Musicianship Phases such as Transposition and Sight-Reading may be added to the program as a separate piece. The American College of Musicians evaluates each student’s performance based upon their presentation of baroque, classic, romantic and contemporary works. Each student performed in the presence of a professional adjudicator chosen by the national organization, who examines their repertoire and critiques them on a report card.

This year’s adjudicator was Claire Troyer of Livingston, Texas. Troyer has taught elementary music, piano class and private piano and been an assistant band director for more than 30 years.

She has taught at various schools in Texas and has also served as a church organist/pianist. Troyer taught piano and music theory at East Texas Baptist University. She has judged piano for the guild and other state and local contests in the southern United States as well as the Eastern New Mexico University band’s solo and ensemble contest.

From left, Paul Miller, Sunny Mann and adjudicator Claire Troyer pause for a snapshot during piano guild performances in Artesia. (Courtesy Photo)

From left, Paul Miller, Sunny Mann and adjudicator Claire Troyer pause for a snapshot during piano guild performances in Artesia. (Courtesy Photo)

More than 100,000 enthusiastic piano pupils participate in the annual National Piano-Playing Auditions, which are held in more than 880 music centers worldwide. Each entrant is given a gold, silver or bronze embossed pin, a report card, and a year’s membership in the National Fraternity of Student Musicians. Students entering a National or International program for five years or more also receive a composer pin.

The organization was established in 1929 by Dr. Irl Allison, and the national headquarters is maintained in Austin, Texas.

Students performing from Rountree’s studio included:

National Program

• Olivia Torrez: 11 pieces. Olivia received a Top Talent Award. This is her seventh year to participate in guild and her seventh year performing a National or International program. She will receive a composer pin. Olivia is the daughter of Becky and Tony Torrez.

• Abigail Blackwell: 10 pieces. This is her sixth year to participate in guild and her fourth year performing a National program. Abigail is the daughter of Arlas and Michael Blackwell.

• Lowell Irby: 10 pieces. This is his ninth year to participate in guild and his ninth year performing a National program. He will receive a composer pin. Lowell is the son of Susan and Eugene Irby.

• T.J. Thalman: 10 pieces. This is his fourth year to participate in guilt and his fourth year performing a National program. T.J. is the son of Kacy and Bill Thalman.

• Addison Throneberry: 10 pieces. This is his seventh year to participate in guild and his fourth year performing a National program. Addison is the son of Lynette and Kevin Throneberry.

• Jade Throneberry: 10 pieces. This is her ninth year to participate in guild and her sixth year performing a National program. She will receive a composer pin. Jade is the daughter of Lynette and Kevin Throneberry.

• Katelyn Velo: 10 pieces. This is her fourth year participating in guild and her fourth year performing a National program. Katelyn is the daughter of Alex Velo and Jesus Velo.

District Program

Hannah Williams poses with adjudicator Claire Troyer during Williams’ first piano guild. (Courtesy Photo)

Hannah Williams poses with adjudicator Claire Troyer during Williams’ first piano guild. (Courtesy Photo)

• Dana Thalman: Six pieces. This is her seventh year participating in guild. Dana is the daughter of Kacy and Bill Thalman.

• Hannah Williams: Six pieces. This is her first year participating in guild. Hannah is the daughter of Laura and Mark Williams. Hobbyist Program

• Katy Webster: Eight pieces. This is her 11th year participating in guild. Katy is the daughter of Terry and Van Webster.

Students performing from Branch’s studio included:

National Program

• Braden Fuentes: 10 pieces. Braden is the son of Ben and Angie Fuentes.

• Faith Houghtaling: 10 pieces. Faith is the daughter of Joby and Pam Houghtaling.

• Madeleine Sterling: 10 pieces. Madeleine is the daughter of John and Linda Sterling.

District Program

• Chloe Yates: Five pieces. Chloe is the daughter of Otis and Edana Yates.

• Trenton Knowlton: Five pieces. Trenton is the son of Brad Knowlton and Jennifer Knowlton.

• Paul Miller: Four pieces. Paul is the son of Joel and Robin Miller.

• Lauren Combs: Four pieces. Lauren is the daughter of Chris and Kimberly Combs.

• Marleigh Branch: Four pieces. Marleigh is the daughter of Tate and Kandi Branch.

• Tessa Yates: Four pieces. Tessa is the daughter of Otis and Edana Yates.

Local Program

• Bella Salazar: Three pieces. Bella is the daughter of Isaac and Veronica Salazar.

• Sunny Mann: Three pieces. Sunny is the daughter of Cliff and Gaelyn Mann.

• Ashton Craft: Three pieces. Ashton is the daughter of Johnny and Krystal Craft.

• Macy Yates: Three pieces. Macy is the daughter of Otis and Edana Yates.

Students from the two studios also participated Feb. 27-28 in the M.A. Knox Piano Competition on the campus of Midland College in Midland, Texas.

Piano students from Artesia, Roswell and Hobbs as well as Lubbock, Midland, Odessa and Big Spring, Texas, attended the competition, with first-place winners performing their pieces at the Winners’ Recital Sunday afternoon.

Participating students from Rountree’s studio included:

• Abigail Blackwell: “Busty at Work” by Berens. She won a first-place medal and performed at the Winners’ Recital Feb. 28.

• Jade Throneberry: “Showdown!” by Bennett. She won a second-place medal.

• Olivia Torrez: “The Storm” by Burgmuller. She won a third-place medal.

• Lowell Irby: “Allegro” by W.F. Bach. He earned an Honorable Mention ribbon.

• Addison Throneberry: “Going on a Road Trip” by Kohler.

Participating students from Branch’s studio included:

• Madeleine Sterling: “Autumn Nocturne” by Mier. She won a third-place medal.

• Brehnan Davis: “The Storm” by Burgmuller. She earned an Honorable Mention ribbon.