A passion for singing and dancing to the favorite children’s French folk song “Au Clair de la Lune” at the age of 5 culminated 12 years later in Barron Collier’s senior Laura Chami winning the top Naples Music Club prize.
With a beautiful performance of Offenbach’s “Elle a fui, la tourterelle,” Laura, a soprano, sealed her win in a recital hosted by the Naples Music Club at Golden Gate High School May 3, at which $16,750 was awarded to twenty-five outstanding young area music students. Her winning the Club’s prestigious Turiel Award brings with it a scholarship in the amount of $2,000.
For Laura, musical talent runs in the family, she says, except for her father, who cannot carry a tune. “My brother plays the trumpet and my sister, violin, while my mother critiques us all with her perfect pitch and my father racks melodic havoc,” she says with affection. She adds that she has her parents to thank for their support and for helping her recognize that music for her is more than just a part of life. It’s a passion, a calling. She’ll continue pursuing her musical goals in August when she attends Florida State University majoring in music therapy and minoring in vocal performance.
Laura is currently taking voice lessons with Charles Smith, studies piano with John Davis, and plays the alto saxophone. In demand both as a vocalist and instrumentalist, she has been a member of the Philharmonic Center for the Arts Select Youth Chorale and their Chamber Choir as well as singing with various high school and countywide choirs. As a saxophonist, she has performed with a number of Barron Collier High School bands, including their honor bands, and with the FGCU Symphony Winds.
A member of the National Honor Society for the past two years, as well as the drama and Internet clubs at Barron Collier, she has also found time to do volunteer work with the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, the Collier County Public Library, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, and Kids Against Hunger.
The Naples Music Club’s Scholarship Program has flourished since 1970, with $395,000 awarded to 604 area music students 11-18. Winnings are used to attend summer music camps, for college expenses or for study with private teachers.
This year, fifty-eight students, representing 16 high schools including those home schooled, competed. The juried competition took place in two age divisions in the categories of piano, string, woodwinds, brass, percussion and voice on April 18 at Barron Collier High School. Top winners who are seniors were then invited to compete for the Turiel award, whose criteria include recital performance, seriousness in pursuing the study of music, competition scores, music achievements, grade point average, community service, an essay, a personal interview and financial need. The 2009 top winners were Laura Chami, soprano; Nancy Flewelling, soprano; Alexander Hayes, euphonium; Emmanuel Lima, trumpet; and Caroline Phillips, saxophone.
In addition, for the first time, a special award, the Haegg Award, was presented. This award is given to one or more especially promising students ages 11-14 who have not studied privately. The 2009 awardees are Nerline Nerlein, a 14-year-old clarinetist, and Shelby Sorrell, a 12-year-old flutist.
The 2009 Scholarship Winners of the Naples Music Club Competition
Turiel Award Winner: Laura Chami, soprano, $2,000
Haegg Award Winners: Nerline Nerlien, clarinet; Shelby Sorrell, flute, $1200 each
1st place: Jared Blajian, cello, $500
2nd place: Joseph Peliska, guitar, $400
3rd place: McClaran Hayes, violin, $300
1st place: Jeremy Brachle (clarinet), $500
2nd place: Nicole Ma (flute), $400
1st place: Hannah Feng, $500
2nd place: Alexandria Beightol, $400
3rd place: Jennifer Wu, $300
1st place Clifford R. Saby Award: Nathaniel Cornell, violin, $1,000
2nd place: Adam Pan, violin, $750
1st place: Clifford R. Saby Award: Daniel Rosman, clarinet, $1,000
2nd place: Nicole Pavlisin, flute, $750
3rd place: Caroline Phillips, alto sax, $400
4th place: Cobby Breszeski, flute, $300
1st place Phyllis Warren Award: Christian Stahlman, $1,000
2nd place: Julian Gonzalez, $750
3rd place: Kevin Boyd, $400
4th place: Yvonne Jiang, $300
1st place: Nancy Flewelling, $1,000
2nd place: Shermana Winkler, $750
3rd place: Laura Chami, $400
1st place Clifford R. Saby Award: Emmanuel Lima, trumpet, $1,000
2nd place: Alexander Hayes, euphonium, $750
3rd place: Philip Brindise, French horn, $400
Special Judges’ Award, Christian Ostaloza, $500
Photo credit: Ivan Seligman, Photographer. Website: http://ivanseligman.smugmug.com
Pictures taken at the Winners’ Recital are available to view, download or purchased here: