The final round for the Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition was held in the Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall last Saturday June, 27th. After an afternoon full of beautiful music showcasing their talent, the winners were chosen by an esteemed panel of judges. The Gold Medalist and recipient of a $1,500 scholarship is percussionist Ricardo Hinojosa, an incoming senior from Cooper High School. Ricardo has studied percussion for 5 years, and has had the honor to perform with great ensembles such as AYO, 5A All-State Band, Area 6 Region Jazz Band and others. The Silver Medalist and recipient of a $1,000 scholarship is cellist Jared Ripple, a recent graduate of Cooper High School. He has been pursuing cello studies since he was 10, and plans on continuing his studies with Eugene Osadchy at UNT College of Music, where he will pursue a degree in cello performance. Pianist Sarah Chen, an incoming 8th grader at Talkington School for Young Women Leaders in Lubbock, received the Bronze Medal with a $750 scholarship. She has been studying piano under the tutelage of Ya-Li Chung Pekowski since she was 5 ½ years old. Sarah is also going on her 4th year as a member of the Youth Orchestras of Lubbock. Receiving Runner-up honors and season tickets to the Abilene Philharmonic is saxophonist Cole Patterson. An incoming senior at Abilene High School, he is a member of the Honor Band, Steel Drum Band, Jazz Band, and Marching Band. He has played saxophone for six years and has also studied piano with Sherry Frush for nine years, earning Superior ratings at adjudicated events. In addition to the scholarships, Nelda Hodges YAC award winners are now eligible to perform alongside the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra.
Previous winners who have performed with the APO include Halle Puckett (2012 Gold Medalist) and Fiona Shea (2016 Gold Medalist), and this upcoming concert season will feature Faith Fang (2018 Bronze Medalist) on January 16, 2021.
The Abilene Philharmonic’s Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition was established in 2008 to help support outstanding young musicians in the Abilene area. Nelda and Eddie Hodges were generous donors, active volunteers, and innovative leaders of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Foundation, and Guild for almost sixty years. Eddie Hodges honored his wife with the establishment of the Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition Endowment to inspire and reward young people’s love for music.
The Nelda Hodges Competition will now be held annually. More information regarding the details will be available in the fall.