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Brown awards sweet sound to winners' ears

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The last proved best at Saturday’s Brown Music Scholarship competition.

Columbus East High School senior pianist Amanda Sun sat and fought nerves as she listened to all her competitors at the annual event at First Christian Church. The 18-year-old was the final performer, and winner, in the day’s Betty F. Brown Awards for Instrumental Excellence category.

“Listening to others play usually helps calm me before I have to perform,” Sun said. “But then I got nervous when I realized who and what I was up against.”

Sun was among underclassmen scholarship winners last year.

“So I was a little more confident going in this time,” she said.

Sun earned a $3,500 college scholarship for her winning effort as she presented “Elegie Op. 3 in E Flat Minor,” by Sergei Rachmaninoff. She currently is uncertain of her college plans.

Columbus East senior Alexis Willard also earned a $3,500 scholarship for finishing in the top spot in the Anna Newell Brown Awards for Vocal Excellence. She sang “I Hate Music,” by Leonard Bernstein, and “Après un Rêve,” by Gabriel Urbain Fauré.

The total value of all scholarships awarded was $21,000.

The Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County organized and presented the program before about 230 people, including friends, relatives and members of the Brown family.

The Anna Newell Brown Awards for Vocal Excellence were established through the Heritage Fund in 1985 by the late Robert and Betty Brown to honor Robert Brown’s mother, the late Anna Newell Brown.

She was a distinguished vocalist and contributed to the cultural life of the Bartholomew County community.

The Betty F. Brown Awards for Instrumental Excellence were established by Robert Brown in memory of his wife, Betty, who was a well-known and respected advocate and patron of the arts, locally and statewide.

Robert Brown was the longtime chairman of Home News Enterprises, the parent company of The Republic.

Other senior instrumental winners and their scholarship prizes were: Rachelle Myers, second place, piano, $1,500; Dae Wook Lee, third place, trumpet; and Shelby Vance, fourth place, violin, $500.

Other senior vocal winners and their scholarship prizes were: Sarah Tam, second, $1,500; Madelyn Lego, third, $1,000.

Underclassmen instrumental winners were: Megan Pan, flute, $600; Miah Kincer, cello, $600; Erica Sun, piano, $600; Michael Freed, violin, $400; David Rich, B-flat trumpet, $400; and Sarah Von Hoene, piano, $400.

Underclassmen vocal winners were: Abigail Beerwart, $600; Katherine Gemberling, $550; Kelly Langevin, $500; Tayler Seymour, $500; Caroline Ammon, $425; Jeffrey Langevin, $425.

Instrumental judges were Susan Chan, violist of New Century String Quartet and adjunct faculty member at University of Indianapolis; Ray Kilburn, associate professor of music and piano at Ball State University; and Shawn Goodman, adjunct instructor of clarinet at Butler University School of Music and conductor and president of Symphonic Youth Orchestra of Greater Indianapolis.

Vocal judges were Kathleen Hacker, chairwoman of the music department and director of vocal studies at University of Indianapolis; Thomas Studebaker, assistant professor of voice at Butler University; and Robin Smith, adjunct professor of voice and English diction at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Attempts to reach Willard were unsuccessful.

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