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Arnie Hart Juried Student Exhbiition

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Stars of Tomorrow

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Stars of Tomorrow & Handel's Water Music Feb. 7 Concert

Mattie Kelly Arts Center


Abbey Schmidt
Abbey Schmidt

1/13/2014 - Stars of Tomorrow & Handel’s Water Music at Feb. 7 Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra Concert - Youth Concerto Winners Perform with Orchestra

The Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra (NFS0) presents its popular "Stars of Tomorrow Meet Handel" concert on Friday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the mainstage theater of Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College. The family-friendly concert features the orchestra performing George Frederic Handel’s most popular instrumental work, Water Music, as well as guest artist performances by the talented youth winners of the NFSO’s 27th annual Concerto Competition.

"The talent exhibited by the Concerto Competition winners is remarkable," noted Jeffrey Rink, NFSO conductor and Music Director. "Each year, our patrons are amazed with the level of performance of these young musicians and we are so proud to be a major part of developing young musical talent by sponsoring this important competition for more than 25 years.”

The NFSO Concerto Competition winners, who will perform as part of the February 7 “Stars of Tomorrow” concert, were chosen by a panel of judges and receive cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500. At the concert, the winner of the 2013 NFSO Concerto Competition’s college division, Patrick Lin, violin, of Tallahassee, a sophomore at Florida State University, will perform Ravel’s Tzigane; winner of the high school division Abbey Schmidt, clarinet, of Destin, an 11th grade student at Fort Walton Beach High School, will perform Weber’s Concertino; and junior division winner Jack Norris, violin, of Niceville, a former 6th grader at Ruckel Middle School, will perform a violin concerto by Vivaldi.

The youth Guest Artists will also perform with the NFSO at the symphony's annual concert for all fifth-grade students in Okaloosa and Walton County, held the same day as the evening performance. Rink noted that the Fifth Graders Concerts are another long-standing youth outreach of the NFSO, which has fostered music appreciation among young people in the region for more than a quarter century.

The Northwest Florida Symphony Guild sponsors the annual Concerto Competition’s cash awards and underwrites both the NFSO’s Fifth- Graders Concert and the evening “Stars of Tomorrow” concert as well as provides support for the college’s youth symphony endeavors (Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra). Rink also noted that, “Our day-time concerts for youth are so vital because they include a curriculum component for teachers to prepare students to attend a live concert at a real performing arts venue, and they are also inspirational because students enjoy both the professional orchestra and talented young musicians to whom the children can relate.”

Tickets for the evening performance of the “Stars of Tomorrow Meet Handel” on February 7 are on sale now for $22.50 each for adults and $16 each for youth age 18 and younger. Active duty military members may purchase discounted tickets for $16 each with ID. For tickets, contact the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box office at 850-729-6000 or purchase tickets online at the center's website at The box office phone and in-person hours are Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. the evening of the concert for any available at-the-door tickets.

NWFSC students may request one free ticket to the evening performance with a student ID. The orchestra also sponsors a KATS program – Kids at the Symphony – which allows students in grades 2 to 12 who are selected by their school, to attend the evening performance free of charge with their parents or family. For information on the KATS program, contact NFSO conductor Jeffrey Rink at 729-6023. For information about reservations for the 5th Graders Concert, contact Delores Merrill, the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at 729-6065.

As the region's premiere professional symphony, the NFSO performs in residence at Mattie Kelly Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College where a custom orchestral shell provides an optimum acoustical experience for symphony patrons. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center is easily accessible from Interstate 10 and Highways 85 and 285 on the Niceville campus of NWF State College, at 100 College Boulevard, just 13 miles from coastal communities via the new Mid-Bay Bridge connector (exit onto Highway 285).

For information about the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, its performance schedule and the various educational programs for youth the symphony provides each season, see or contact Jeffrey Rink, conductor and music director, at 729-6023. For more information on the NFSO, visit the symphony’s Facebook page or website.

Youth Guest Artists include:

Jack T. Norris, Niceville, Biography, 2013 NFSO Concerto Competition, Junior Division Winner

At age four, Jack expressed an interest in learning music by sculpting a violin out of Play-Doh and pretended to bow. Soon after (while his family was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB), Jack began Suzuki Violin instruction at the Johnston Music Studio in Dayton, OH. For four years, Jack followed his older brother’s musical lead, progressed steadily, and helped teach his baby sister how to play Twinkle. In 2009, Air Force brought Jack’s family to Eglin AFB and the beautiful Emerald Coast. Jack, along with now three siblings, continued their Suzuki training via Skype. The 2013 NFSO Concerto Competition was Jack’s first competition which fueled his musical interest to learn and perform. He was a 6th grader at Ruckel Middle School in Niceville at the time of the competition this past fall. In the upcoming fall, Jack plans to join Auburn University’s Tiger Strings Youth Orchestra located close to where his family is currently stationed near Maxwell AFB. Aside from the violin, Jack enjoys golf, origami, fantasy novels, and video games.

Abbey Schmidt, Destin, Biography, 2013 NFSO Concerto Competition, Senior Division Winner

Abbey Schmidt was born and raised in Destin, Florida. She is seventeen years old and attends Fort Walton Beach High School as a junior. Abbey’s love for music began when she was six years old. She first started taking private lessons for the piano and fell in love. When Abbey was nine years old, her brother bought her a guitar and she plays that on the side for a fun, relaxing instrument. When she entered middle school, she chose to play the clarinet. Abbey had no clue that the clarinet would take her so many places. Along with private lessons and band class, Abbey spends many hours every day practicing. Abbey made an appearance in the Macy’s parade, marching along with the best musicians in the United States in the Great American Marching Band. Abbey has received superior ratings every year at the Solo and Ensemble Festival. Abbey has been a Florida All-State musician every year since seventh grade, as well as being the top clarinetist in the state of Florida twice so far. She has made the Florida All-County band every year since seventh grade, as well as being the top player in Okaloosa once so far. Abbey plans to pursue music as a career. She dreams to play professionally in an orchestra. Abbey could not have accomplished so many wonderful things without her private teacher Nancy Saleeby, her band director Randy Folsom, her family’s support, and the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Patrick Lin, Tallahassee, Biography, 2013 NFSO Concerto Competition, College Division Winner

Patrick Lin was born in Buffalo, New York, grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where he studies with Dr. Benjamin Sung at The Florida State University. Patrick began his musical studies at the age of 6 with piano, studying with Dr. Robert W. Groves of North Dakota State University. A year after, he started violin lessons with Mary Weisser of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, later studying with Jane Linde Capistran of Concordia College (Moorhead) and Dr. Benjamin Sung. Additionally, Patrick’s studies have included attendance at the Brevard Music Center Summer Festival, the Varna International Music Academy, the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute, and the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra. Patrick is the winner of several competitions, including the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra & Classical Minnesota Public Radio Young Artist Solo Competition, the Varna International Music Academy Concerto Competition, and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. At the age 14, Patrick won a position in the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, becoming the youngest member in the organization’s history. He currently plays with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra in addition to serving as concertmaster for the Florida State University Philharmonia. Some recent performances include concerts in Vienna, Washington, D.C., Missouri, North Dakota, and Florida, as well as a tour of Northern Italy.

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