Young Musician of the Year finalists announced

Finalists in the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year competition gather to celebrate their nominations at a recent luncheon. Back row, from left, Deputy Managing Director of Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited, Michael McWatt, Ruth Harris, Dequan Smith, Adrian Anglin, Marcos Bertran, Jaedyn Hanna, Senior Customer Services Manager James Watler of the Department of Education Services. Front row, Liana DaCosta, Maya Antes, Katherine Erskine and Daniela Granados.

Nine music students will vie to become Cayman’s next Young Musician of the Year in the annual competition on Saturday, April 30.

This year’s finalists are Liana DaCosta of Clifton Hunter High School and Jaedyn Hanna of John Gray High School, (voice); Dequan Smith of Clifton Hunter High School and Maya Antes of Cayman International School, (piano); Katherine Erskine of Clifton Hunter High School (strings); Adrian Anglin, Marcos Bertran and Daniela Granados, all of Saint Ignatius High School (woodwind) and Ruth Harris of Saint Ignatius High School (brass).

The Butterfield Young Musician of the Year, which launched in 2008, is a showcase for some of Cayman’s most talented young artists. At the event, which is part of the National Children’s Festival of the Arts, Cayman’s top music students perform their best pieces in front of three judges at a public performance.

This year’s competition takes place at the Prospect Playhouse, where Grammy Award-winning conductor John McLaughlin Williams; Dr. Catherine Rand, Director of Bands, Associate Professor of Music at the University of Southern Mississippi; and Stephanie Williams, former Education Officer of Music and Cultural Development in the Cayman Islands will be the judges.

Past recipients of the title include: 2008 – Michael Testori of St. Ignatius Catholic School; 2009 – Aziza La Pierre of John Gray High School/Cayman School of Pan; 2010 – Zoey Robinson of St. Ignatius Catholic School; 2011 – Isabella Rooney of Cayman Prep and High School; 2012 – Jaide Dixon of Clifton Hunter High School; 2013 – Hannah Fowler of Cayman Prep and High School; 2014 – Ethan Whittaker of Cayman School of Pan; 2015 – Conor O’Dea of St. Ignatius Catholic School.

On Tuesday, this year’s finalists were celebrated at a luncheon hosted at Butterfield Place, which is the Cayman headquarters of sponsor Butterfield Bank.

“To get to this level of competition, the students are already at a quality performance standard and they all should be very proud of themselves for having been chosen,” Michael McWatt, deputy managing director of Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited, said in a press release.

“We wanted to honor all of them with a special luncheon before the event to recognize the hard work and dedication that has brought them to this stage,” he added.

James Watler, senior customer service manager at the Department of Education Services, which organizes the National Children’s Festival of the Arts, said the competition has been one of the highlights of the festival over the past nine years.

“It has encouraged young people to aspire to reach for the stars as they hone their musical talents and as they excel in becoming the best that they can be,” Mr. Watler said. “The high quality of musical talents that we are now reaping from our students is remarkable.”

He added, “Our visionary forefathers who started the [National Children’s Festival of the Arts] some 34 years ago can be justly proud of how far we have come over these years.

“The [festival] over this time helped and continues to help in many ways to shape the future development and growth of the arts in the Cayman Islands. Thus, having partnerships with entities such as Butterfield, which has so graciously stepped up to the plate and sponsors this aspect of the NCFA, demonstrates the public-private partnership that exists between the Cayman Islands Government and members of the private sector who so willingly give to this most worthy cause.”

The finalists will perform two contrasting pieces in their chosen category of either vocal, piano, strings, woodwind or brass, and an overall winner and runner-up will be selected by the judges.

The event is open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, at the Prospect Playhouse. The competition begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door for $5 for adults and $2 for children.