For more than 100 years The Manitoba Registered Music Teachers’ Association (MRMTA) has been holding a yearly Performance Scholarship Competition. Throughout this week (January 29th-February 2nd) MRMTA students of all ages have been competing for a chance to win a cash prize and ultimately perform in the scholarship gala concert that takes place this Sunday, February 4th at 7:30 at Sterling Mennonite Fellowship at 1008 Dakota.

There Are three disciplines for the competition, piano, voice, and instrumental. Each discipline is then divided into junior, intermediate, senior and advanced categories. Competitor numbers for this year were comparable to other years, but what makes this year very interesting is that the number of participants in the intermediate piano category. As MRMTA Performance Scholarships Competition Chair Bennet Charter states, “There are twenty five competitors in the intermediate category which is a lot... and exciting for the future.”

The MRMTA always finds the highest level of adjudicators for the competition, and this year is no different.

The instrumental adjudicator is Vijay Chalasani who is a violist. He has performed with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Thunder Bay Symphony, and is in the process of completing his dissertation for his Doctorate in Performance from the University of Washington.

The piano adjudicators are Jenny Regehr who is well known for her solo and chamber music performances in addition to being a senior examiner for RCM examinations. Madeline Hildebrand is the second piano adjudicator. She is a prominent name in Winnipeg, known for her collaborative work as well as her solo performances. She has just recently finished her Doctorate in Piano Performance from Stony Brook University in New York

The voice adjudicator is soprano Lara Ciekiewicz who has sung lead and supporting roles for Manitoba Opera, as well as performing as a soloist with The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with Edmonton Opera, Vancouver Opera, and Pacific Opera to name just a few.

The students are front and centre for the MRMTA and the benefits for students who take part in the completion are numerous. As Charter states, “Students always need a goal, and preparing a program for January… you have to push yourself, and it’s wonderful to have that…it really pushes people to get ready and it exposes students to the level that is out there. Seeing some of the best kids in the city and province playing can be a very inspiring thing.”

There is also the monetary aspect to the competition. Normally prize winners are awarded:

  • One Advanced Scholarship of $500 for students at the ARCT or Undergraduate level of study.
  • One Senior Scholarship of $400 for students at the Grade 9 or 10 level of study.
  • One Intermediate Scholarship of $300 for students at the Grade 7 or 8 level of study.
  • One Junior Scholarship of $200 for students at the Grade 5 or 6 level of study.

This year however there is an extra financial bonus, as Charter point out, “This year because it is the 100th anniversary of the competition, we actually decided to add on a hundred dollars to each of the financial awards.”

The competition culminates in the Gala concert that takes place this Sunday, February 4th at 7:30 at Sterling Mennonite Fellowship at 1008 Dakota. All of the winners will be performing. This is a great way to see new, young up-and-coming talent that exists here in Manitoba, and take in some good music at the same time.

For more details on the Manitoba Registered Music Teachers’ Association Scholarship Competition gala visit their website.