ST. GEORGE — The ill effects of COVID-19 have been bandied from pillar to post for the past year. Although the pandemic has wreaked havoc on many fronts, the shutdown has had a very positive effect on young performers in Southern Utah.
With fewer options to occupy their time, area youth took their music and dance lessons to heart, as evidenced in the level of expertise demonstrated Thursday night at the Southern Utah Performing Arts Festival Honors Recital and Awards Program.
“The quality of the performances this year was top-notch,” festival director Mindy Suttner said. “The adjudicators were very impressed with the talent of our youth this year.”
Although this was the 33rd annual festival, this is the first year that the honors recital was limited to soloists. Because of the pandemic, large groups – band, choir, dance and orchestra – submitted recorded performances and were adjudicated virtually, but no competition was held. Observing strict COVID-19 safety measures, including masking and social distancing, solo competitions were held in person as usual. At the honors recital, top soloists in each category were showcased in Crimson Cliffs High School’s new auditorium.
After the performances, winners in each category received medals and cash awards of up to $100. In addition, eight deserving seniors were each awarded a $500 performing arts scholarship to be forwarded to the school of their choice to be used for tuition, books, or fees. The festival was started by the Exchange Club of St. George in 1987, but this year teamed up with State Bank of Southern Utah to issue these scholarships.
A highlight of the evening was a special award, called the “Book of Golden Deeds,” which was presented to Michael and Hayley Winslow for their many years of service to the performing arts community, including five years as festival directors.
Winners of each category, scholarship recipients and superior-rated large groups are listed below in order of third place, second place and first place. Congratulations to our talented youth and their instructors!
Beginning: Inga Robertson, Madeline Obray, Dean Carter.
Early Intermediate: Trevyn Karkula, Jackson Seegmiller, Sophia Vincent.
Late Intermediate: Tyler Wallin, Lucky Nelson, Michael Winward.
Advanced: Paige Nelson, Martha Bown, Katherine Langeland.
Beginning: Ella Belnap, Hattie Allred, Tyler Wallin.
Early Intermediate: Lindsey Hansen, Luke Wallin.
Late Intermediate: Seth Risenmay, Bella Gillette, Elisabeth and Katherine Collings.
Advanced: Kayl Gunther, Anna Cain.
Elementary: Gabriella Scibetta, Madison Higgins, Braylyn Larson.
Intermediate: Natasha Dobson, Ashley Cox, Mia DeLlamas.
Middle: Isabella Sarria and McKaye Haws, Isabella Sarria, Aspynne Tyler.
High: Emma Young, Lainee Chase, Ashlee Chadburn.
Southern Utah Performing Arts Festival scholarship recipients
- Heidi Wakefield, Snow Canyon High School.
- Shannon Davis, Desert Hills High School.
- Emily Gomez, Pine View High School.
- Jordan Snow, Tuacahn High School.
- McKenna Loveless, Desert Hills High School.
- Drue Allred, Snow Canyon High School.
- Noelle Sampson, Desert Hills High School.
- Emma Young, Crimson Cliffs High School.