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J.D. Kelly Piano Competition to be Held Feb. 6-7


JONESBORO – The annual J. D. Kelly Piano Competition will take place on Saturday, Feb. 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 7, from 1:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. in Fowler Center’s Riceland Hall. Admission is free and the public is welcome to attend.

This year, the competition features over 40 young pianists between the ages of 6 and 23, from Arkansas and West Tennessee.  The J. D. Kelly Competition originated as a summer event, but this is the second year it has been held in February, to increase enrollment.

There are five levels of competitions:
Group 1, Grades 1-3 (Saturday Feb. 6, 8:30-10)
Group 2, Grades 4-6 (Saturday Feb. 6, 10:30-12:45 and Sunday Feb. 7, 6-6:30)
Group 3, Grades 7-9 (Saturday Feb. 6, 2-4:30 and Sunday Feb. 7, 6:40-7:45)
Group 4, Grades 10-12 (Sunday Feb. 7, 1:15-4)
And for the first time this year- Group 5, Collegiate Undergraduates (Sunday Feb. 7, 4:05-6)

Each entrant must play two classical piano pieces in contrasting styles, from memory, and pre-assigned scales, arpeggios, and chord progressions.  Cash prizes are awarded for first and second place winners of each level, and the judges may name as many honorable mentions as they wish.  Every student receives a medal of participation. 

Dr. Lauren Schack Clark, director of keyboard studies at Arkansas State University and coordinator of the competition, states, “Every year, the playing level gets higher and higher.  These young students and their teachers work very hard to prepare for this competition.  Last year, it was a joy and inspiration to hear such wonderful playing from so many young people from our region.”

Judges this year will be Dennis Hay, Brian Henkelmann, Dr. Marika Kyriakos, Harriet O’Neal, and Dr. Christopher Thompson.

The sponsors are Amro Music, Mike and Kaye Farrah and Holly Farrah, Dr. J. D. Kelly, Music Teachers Association of the Delta, Nucor-Yamato Steel, Josh Stevens, Dr. Christopher Thompson, and The Treble Clef Music Club.  Dr. Kelly and Clark will teach master classes to some of the students at the end of each level of competition.  Other participating teachers are Carl Anthony, Lei Cai, Judith Fairchild, Dennis Hay, Naoki Hakutani, Hee-Kyung Juhn, Marika Kyriakos, Tatiana Roitman, May Tsao-Lim, and Judy Warner.

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