Young musicians from Yonsei Academy and members of the popular Manta Ray Band brought home honor and pride to their schools after sweeping the gold and silver awards at the recently concluded Tumon Bay Music Festival in Guam.
Saipan Southern High School Manta Band musical director Will DeWitt shared with Saipan Tribune yesterday that the group earned a total of 11 gold and three silver medals during the 10-day festival.
According to Witt, they are planning to put on a public concert on Saipan, probably in April or early May, featuring the same repertoire they performed in Guam last week.
Recipients of the gold awards included the band's Sax Ensemble composed of Steve Park, Jisu Lee, Ken Orejola, Clarence Sablan, and Ian Rogolifoi.
The band's Clarinet Ensemble was also a gold medalist. It is made up of Kanani Lee, Jee Hyun Lee, Sung Jun Kim, and Herman Guerrero.
The Brass Ensemble composed of members Kevin Fejeran, Kim Alvarado, Joshua Sablan, Katrina Cruz, Kun Hee Lee, and Chris Tudela also went home with a gold.
The silver award went to the band's Flute Trio: Lica Ishida, Yelin Lee, and Valentine Paik.
The SSHS Rock Band, “The JayWalkers” were also silver medalists with members Jisu Lee, Jimmy Choi, SoJin Kim, Ji Yoon Kim, Jimin Lee, Yoon Jae Won, SungHo Chung, Sung Jun Kim, and Joel Jang claiming the award.
Yelin Lee for Flute Solo; Kun Hee Lee for Euphonium Solo; and Angela Cruz, Vocal Solo, also received commendations.
“I am immensely proud of them for earning more gold, and more total awards than any other organization, school, or group in this year's TBMF. The 11 gold awards surpasses the previous medal tally set by SSHS musicians in 2008, 2009, and 2011,” said DeWitt.
Koblerville Elementary School and Marianas High School also won major awards at the festival.
Yonsei Academy awards
Thirteen young musicians of Yonsei Academy also emerged winners in various categories.
According to Youngmi Han, the academy's instructor, gold medals were earned by Lica Ishida, Kate Ishida, Cloency Chua, Ziqiang Song, Jimin Lee, Jaehyun Park, Sojin Kim, Youna Lee, Dahyun Hyun, and Edward Minami.
Silver medalists were Ellen Lee, Kevin Kang, and Ayoung Sarah Kim.
Yonsei Academy started participating in the Guam festival since 2009.
Chua, who performed Hungarian Rhapsody in the solo competition, said: “I thank all those people who gave me this opportunity. After the performance, I was glad of receiving congratulation from the judges and my piano teacher, Ms. Youngmi Han. I am going to practice harder to fill my weakness and to make a better sound.”
Chua is scheduled to participate in a piano competition in South Carolina in October.
Ishida, who played Liszt's Nocturne Liebstraum said: “In order to express the beauty of this piece, I had to practice a lot. I am glad of the outcome. Also, I am happy that all of us brought good results, even elementary students.”
Kim, who played Chopin's Winter Wind, said: “This piece was challenging because I had to express the rough and windy winter wind. Even though this piece was hard with technique, I was encouraged after the good performance.”