Foothills Music Club awards scholarships to young musicians

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Foothills Music Club is pleased to announce its 2016 scholarship winners following auditions held March 4 and 5.


Representing three counties, four area schools and home schools, several young musicians presented an impressive variety of vocal and instrumental solos to the judges. These performances were marked by a high degree of talent and accomplishment.

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This year’s first place winner and the recipient of the Lesley Oakes Scholarship is pianist Gabe Turner. He is the son of Tommy and Connie Turner of Ellenboro, N.C. and is a student at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy. He has studied piano for ten years and is currently studying with Dr. Cynthia Swicegood.


He also plays the violin, harpsichord, and hammered dulcimer and is a developing music composer. Turner is an active participant in many school, civic, and church music functions and recently won first place in the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition.


The second place winner and recipient of the Betty Van Buskirk Scholarship is Daphne Bickley, daughter of Phil and Veda Bickley of Lake Lure, N.C. She is a student at Rutherford Early College High School and has been studying viola for eleven years, presently with Jan Daugherty of Saluda.


She is a member of the Carolina Youth Symphony and the Brevard Philharmonic and has competed in music competitions on the regional and all-state level for several years.


The third place award winner and recipient of the Kathleen Erwin Scholarship is Sarah Kelly Rowe, daughter of Jeff and Kelly Rowe of Landrum, S.C. Homeschooled, she has studied violin for four years and at present is a student of Donis Schweizer.


She has been a member of the Lawson Academy Orchestra at Converse College and frequently performs in recitals, community programs, and at a variety of public events.


Two students tied for fourth place. Alex Harrelson, tenor, is the son of Edward and Petra Harrelson of Tryon. A student at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, he studies voice with Brenda Quilling of Landrum. He is frequently seen and heard on stage in Tryon Little Theater productions.


Violinist Robert Capaldo, the son of Robert and Denise Capaldo of Ellenboro, is a student at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy and has been studying violin for eight years, presently with Sharon Lawrence of Forest City. He is a member of the TJCA orchestra.


Five students received Awards of Recognition: Isaiah Adderholdt, French horn, Landrum High School; Isaac Smith, tuba, Polk County High School; Emily Olson, soprano, Landrum High School; Goutam Gadiraju, violin, Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy; and Audrey Lockhart, piano, homeschooled.


Six students received Honorable Mention awards: Tristin Montgomery, cello, Polk County High School; Alex West, alto saxophone, Landrum High School; Juniper Walter-Eger, violin, Polk County High School; Andrew Deaton, violin, Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy; Gabriel Lugo, piano, homeschooled; and Michael Lugo, piano, homeschooled.


Each year, the Foothills Music Club provides scholarships to qualified young musicians to encourage them to continue their musical studies. Applications are accepted from students who have studied a minimum of three years and are of high school age. A panel of judges evaluates each student at the auditions, specifically noting the performer’s musical interpretation and technical proficiency. The financial award can be applied to the cost of lessons, purchase of music, attendance at music camp, or the repair/purchase of instruments. In 2016, a total of $3,150 is being awarded.


Foothills Music Club membership and scholarship information can be found online at


-Submitted by Jeanette Comer