10-year-old composers win top prizes in Md. music contest


Two west Columbia elementary school students who composed original music scores were awarded top prizes by the state Music Teachers Association last month.

Michelle Waligora and Megan Bondhus, both 10-year-olds from Hickory Ridge village who play piano, were awarded first and second prizes, respectively, in a competition in November based on music they had composed.

"This is a huge honor," said Deborah White-Bondhus, their teacher and Megan's mother. "I've been going to these competitions for 25 years and I've never had a student win."

Michelle and Megan will represent the state in an Eastern Division competition in New Hampshire in January, said White-Bondhus, a longtime member of the the Music Teachers Association.

Another student from Howard County, seventh-grader Andrew Weisman of Clarksville, also was asked to perform his piano piece at the competition -- held at Frostburg State University in Western Maryland Nov. 1 -- but did not get a prize, she said.

Michelle won $50 for a 1-minute, 45-second piece called "Weather," which she composed last year. It took her about 16 hours over the course of a few weeks to create it, she said.

"I just thought of different kinds of weather when I was doing it," she said. "Rain was a pitter-patter, wind was a legato that went up and back, lightning was big loud chords and snow was very calm melodies."

Megan, who takes horseback riding lessons, composed a piece called "Mustang Melodies" based on images of horses walking, grazing and running, she said. She does not know how long the piece is, she said.

The compositions had to be original scores composed by the youngsters, White-Bondhus said. To enter the competition, they sent written music and audio tapes of themselves playing the music, she said.

Pub Date: 12/17/96

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