Each spring semester, Maranatha’s Departments of Music and Humanities host the Music and Speech Commencement Contests, encouraging students to compete in their respective areas of study or interest. Categories for this year’s competitions included classical piano, classical instrumental, vocal (sacred and classical combined), dramatic interpretation, and persuasive speaking. Winners from each category presented their pieces to the entire student body in a special end-of-the-year Fine Arts Chapel.
Contestants are judged by both outside professionals and Main Campus faculty. Competition encourages students to prepare a specific piece for a specific purpose. Classical instrumental category winner, sophomore Timothy Kile, said, “Competition pushes me to be critical. I cannot be content with being able to play all the right notes in my piece. I have to take each note and make it the most beautiful sound the judges have ever heard.” Kile won with the trumpet piece Concerto by Whitney.
Senior Trisha Herbert won not only the classical piano category with her piece L’isle Joyeuse by Debussy, she also won the overall music commencement competition. Her piece has special significance since it is her mother’s favorite piano piece. “I told her I would put it in my senior recital,” Herbert said. “I started working on it and decided I also wanted to compete with it.” Herbert prepared her piece under piano adjunct teacher, Dr. Stasi Varshavski. “Competition gave me reason to put in my absolute best and I have learned a lot of good lessons both in the times when I’ve won and in the times that I have lost.”
Students prepare pieces in persuasive manuscript and dramatic interpretation categories for the Speech Commencement Contest. Freshman Kylee Zempel, winner of the persuasive manuscript category, wrote her own speech, entitled “Taking ‘Free’ Out of the Free Market,” on a current topic: minimum wage laws. “I have enjoyed studying the effects of minimum wage on the free market and the importance of the invisible hand,” Zempel shared. “I wanted to educate students on something that is often overlooked but has serious effects on their everyday lives.” She added that the possibility of giving the speech in front of the student body encouraged her to compete with excellence and drove her to perfect her manuscript. “The desire to influence people’s ideas and move them to action on something important is what truly pushes me to excel.”
Additional winners included Hannah Griffith (dramatic interpretation of poetry) performing “Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight” by Rose Hartwick Thorpe; Brady Grismore (vocal) singing The Penitent by Van de Water and Vittoria, Mio Core by Carissimi; and Stephanie Miller (runner-up, vocal) singing La Zingara by Donizetti and O Had I Jubal’s Lyre by Handel.