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Staff Report

Earlier this month, two young Sussex County musicians had the unique opportunity to perform onstage at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington as part of The Music School of Delaware’s spring program Reaching for the Stars.  The program featured the school’s Festival Orchestra performing selections from West Side Story and highlighted three talented young musicians who were winners of the Music School’s annual Delaware Concerto Competition for Young Musicians.  These winning soloists included pianist Gray Scott, age 14, of Harrington; saxophonist Marius Sander, age 16, of Wyoming; and violinist David Clarke of Wilmington; all three are students at The Music School of Delaware.

Scott, who is home schooled, performed Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 in c minor accompanied by the Festival Orchestra.  Gray chose the piece with his instructor because he felt it fit his personality.

“I like the power I can portray with this piece, and the contrast in the beautiful, varying melodies,” said Gray.  “The piano is an awesome instrument.  Playing with the Orchestra on the Grand’s stage helped me realize the importance of precise counting and how exhilarating it is to perform with an orchestra.”

Marius Sander, who will be a junior this fall at St. Thomas More Academy, joined the Festival Orchestra to perform the fourth and fifth movements of Tableaux de Provence by Paule Maurice.  He chose the piece because the two movements contrasted one another, and could display both his technique and musicianship.  Sander notes that performing at the Grand was quite a remarkable experience.

“The hall is absolutely beautiful and truly one of Delaware’s finest jewels. Looking out into the seemingly endless rows of seats really humbled me, and the acoustics were so alive!” he noted. “I loved the opportunity to play with an orchestra and work with a fantastic conductor [Festival Orchestra Conductor Simeone Tartaglione].  It was an experience I won’t ever forget.”

Both artists were thrilled to bring their talents to the Wilmington stage and offer advice to other young musicians. “Practice slowly and precisely. Make sure you love what you are doing.”  Sander: “Practice a lot; listen to your instructors; don’t give up when the going gets tough. Also, listen to plenty of recordings; they’re great for inspiration and expanding your musical understanding.”

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