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I've been thinking about ... music

I realize this is not news to most folks in Carroll County, but we have a very fair share of music here. From an early preschool program offered by the Children's Chorus of Carroll County for the really little children to the Senior Singers, who, I understand, have a couple of nonagenarians in their chorus. I think it is the goal of Margaret Boudreaux, of McDaniel Music Department and the Masterworks Choral, to encourage people to sing their whole lives through and judging from the myriad of church choirs in the county, she is well on her way to her goal.

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Now I haven't mentioned, but of course I will, our excellent high school bands and orchestras that frequently bring home the gold in statewide and regional competitions or the wonderful jazz ensembles in our high schools fed by the middle school music programs that keep both choral and instrumental talent coming up or the Encore Orchestra or the Carroll County Symphony, a partnership of the Carroll Community College and McDaniel. Did I mention the Carroll County String Project, the brain child of Peggy Motter Ward? All of this and more and I haven't yet told you what I want you to know today.

Carroll County is also blessed with a number of studios with good teachers of the piano. On Saturday, March 11, the Barnes-Ferencz Piano Competition will happen at Levine Hall on the campus of McDaniel College starting at 9 a.m. We have gathered four highly qualified judges, all steeped in piano education, instruction and performance to do the adjudication. They will have the music in front of them so no error, no matter how small, will escape their notice. Not an easy thing when you're 9 years old and your feet barely touch the pedals.

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The first-, second- and third-place winners in each division will perform the next day, Sunday, March 12, at 3 p.m. at McDaniel's Alumni Hall here in Westminster. The public is invited and, while there is no admission fee charged, donations to support the competition are gratefully accepted. This is definitely not your grandmother's piano recital.

In the beginning the competition existed as the Doris O. Barnes Ragtime Piano Competition, but at the death of Judith Anne Ferencz in 2003, the two families got together and formed this very special event. George Barnes, the husband of Doris, was the main sponsor and support of the Barnes-Ferencz Piano Competition until his death two years ago. He was loved by the students and attended all the competitions and concerts. He is greatly missed.

Doris Barnes was the consummate performer and her genre of choice was ragtime. Ferencz was a devoted teacher and loved classical music. For this competition, on four levels — Elementary, Intermediate, Junior and Senior —the youngsters are required to perform a memorized selection from each genre. You will hear familiar and beloved musical selections played at an extraordinarily high level.

To make the concert even more interesting this year, David Krider, a professor at McDaniel, who is a frequent featured artist all over the country, will be the guest performer.

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If you are up for a wonderful Sunday afternoon of beautifully executed music by an exceptionally talented group of youngsters, join us at Alumni Hall, on The Hill at 3 p.m.

Audrey Cimino is the executive director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County. She writes from Westminster.

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