SPENCERTOWN — For years the annual Uel Wade Scholarship competition has played to a packed audience at the Spencertown Academy.
This year, due to the coronavirus, the young musicians performed in Wade’s big studio with an audience of only three: the judges, Ron Carbone (violist), Eric Latini (trumpeter), and Mitsuko Suzuki (violinist).
The judges maintained social distance and wore masks.
The contestants warmed up in separate rooms.
The Uel Wade Music Scholarship is now in its 25th year.
On May 24, it awarded $10,000 to four out of six finalists from among the competing, local-area high school musicians.
Something like that happens each year thanks to generous contributions from local individuals and businesses.
Typically, prizes are awarded to no more than two or three players; but this time the level of talent was so even across the six finalists that the judges felt compelled to choose at least four.
First prize of $3,500 went to cellist Joyce Cheng, a senior from Shenendehowa High school in Clifton Park, who will attend NYU in the fall.
She played the fourth movement of the Elgar Concerto and the Sarabande from a Bach Suite.
She was judged to be “the most mature performer, the player who understood the music the best.”
Goni Ronen, a senior at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in Ghent won $2,500 as second prize.
Playing the entire Sonata for Bass Tuba and Piano by Paul Hindemith, he was commended for his tone quality and musical energy.
Tied for third, winning $2,000 each, were oboist Anna Ryu and violist Katie Rumin.
Anna is a 16-year-old junior at Shaker High School in Latham.
She played selections from The Flower Clock by Jean Françaix and was noted for her “presence, phrasing, and color.”
Rumin is 17 and a junior at Berkshire Waldorf School in Stockbridge Mass.
She played the first movement of Sonata by Rebecca Clarke, followed by the Prelude to a Suite (for cello) by Bach.
The judges praised her for her “beautiful sound and different characters.”