Scholarship Winners

CSOL® Scholarship Winners perform at Bishop Gadsden
Nine Charleston Symphony Orchestra League Scholarship Winners performed in a recital on May 4 at 3 p.m. in the Bishop Gadsden Chapel. They were among 41 talented young musicians in grades five through 12 who have won 2014 scholarships totaling $27,180. 
Annually, the CSOL supports the Charleston Symphony Orchestra by providing three scholarship programs: College Scholarships, Matching Grant Scholarships, and Summer Study Scholarships for youth in our community. In addition, Summer Study Scholarships are offered to musicians of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. 
This year, Shannon Fitzhenry, a homeschooled violinist, won the top award in the competition, the David and Karen Stahl Memorial College Scholarship of $2,500. Winners of the $2,000 college scholarship awarded to graduating seniors who plan to major in music performance, therapy or education include: Carlo Garcia, cello, Charleston County School of the arts; Brianna Jaeger, piano, homeschooled; Leah Griggs, voice, Berkeley Center for the Arts at Goose Creek High School; Daria Poe, flute, homeschooled; Margaret Szwast, clarinet, Charleston County School of the Arts. 
Matching Grant Scholarships of $500 for private study were awarded to the following four members of the Youth Orchestra of the Lowcountry (YoLow): Sashank Sakamuri, cello, Academic Magnet high School; Benjamin Kremer, violin, Charleston Catholic; Eric Won, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts; Iroha Shirai, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts. In addition, the CSOL will provide $1,000 for need-based scholarships for YoLow participation. 
Summer Study Scholarships of varying amounts totaling $11,680 were awarded to 31 students who are attending summer music camps and for summer private lessons. Recipients include: 
Caleb Borick, piano, homeschooled; Ashley Yoon, violin, Porter Gaud; Jenna Flaherty, voice, Palmetto Christian; Eliza Turner, voice, Charleston County School of the Arts; Rachel Yoon, piano, Porter Gaud; Chelky Lin, piano Stratford High School; Junru Yao, piano, Charleston County School of the Arts; Jay Baek, piano, Charleston County School of the Arts; Shota Kohno, piano, James Island Charter High School; Karlee Parshall, clarinet, Moultrie Middle School; Nanako Shirai, violin, Academic Magnet High School; Frederic YoYao Chen, piano, Charleston County School of the Arts; Meghan McTavish, voice, Wando High School; Nathaniel Sheets, piano, homeschooled; Julia Whitten, piano, Porter Gaud; Hannah Bergman, piano, Montessori Community School; Andrew Engelhardt, cello, Charleston County School of the Arts; Erica Kremer, piano, Charleston Catholic; Manuel Ventura, piano, Ashley Ridge High School; Madeleine Beatrice Walsh, flute, Charleston County School of the Arts; Alexis Clark, bassoon, Cario Middle School; Yasmeine Jenkins, voice, Berkeley Center for the Arts, Goose Creek HS; Fiona Kent, piano, homeschooled; Elliott Cihlar, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts; Anna Elizabeth Neely, voice, Berkeley Center for the Arts, Goose Creek HS; Mei Haven Xu, piano, Academic Magnet High School; Rose Holstein, violin, Cario Middle School; Elliott Weeks, violin, Charleston County School of the Arts; Vivian Song, violin, Academic Magnet High School; Samuel Choe, piano, College Park Middle School.  
An additional $4,000 in grants was awarded to the following CSO musicians: Tom Bresnick, Regina Helcher-Yost, Frances Hsieh, Jan Marie Joyce, Tom Joyce, Damian Kremer, Kari Kistler, Norbert Lewandowski, and Debra Sherrill-Ward. 

Abigail Kent thanks the CSOL® for our support

Abigail Kent was a 2013 CSOL® college scholarship recipient.

abigail kentDear Charleston Symphony Orchestra League,

I would like to thank all the members of the CSOL for taking such an interest in my harp studies. I am looking forward to starting conservatory at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and I am flying out this week. Thank you for your generosity to make this possible. My update needs to start now, since I've had a very eventful summer with my harp. I attended the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, where I placed 2nd in their Concerto Competition after a live final round.

Next, I attended a 2-week harp camp in Saratoga Springs, NY, directed by the Professor of Harp at the Curtis Institute of Music, Elizabeth Hainen. I won 1st place in their Concerto Competition, allowing me to perform Handel's Harp Concerto with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra (Gala Concert, my performance starts at about 45 minutes into program):

Because of this extraordinary experience, I am invited to perform at the prestigious Lyon and Healy 150th Anniversary International Harp Festival in Chicago June 4-7, 2014. I have received permission from the Head of Harp at the Royal Academy of Music in London to interrupt my term for the week in order to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! I am honored and thrilled!

Thank you all again. I will continue to update you all throughout the year!



BentzCSOL Scholarship Winner Nick Bentz has just won the PRISMA Concerto Competition in Powell River, BC, and will be going to Moscow this year to perform with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.


CSOL® Scholarship Winner Nick Bentz thanks the CSOL for years of support:

Dear Members of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League,

I want to thank you for your unwavering support since my first CSOL audition many years ago. Because of your generosity you have helped me to realize the goals that I set for myself from an early age. I wanted to share with you my personal statement that I submitted in my application to the conservatories. I know that your organization played a large role in my achievements both now and in the future.

Music has always held a mystical quality in my life, and it still heightens my curiosity to this day. One day, at the age of seven, I came home with a sudden realization. I told my mother that I had discovered something quite extraordinary. I told her that the violin could sound sad, or happy, or anywhere in between, depending on how you played it. At that moment, the endless possibilities of music entered my life, and have irreversibly altered my world for the better. Moving forward, I harnessed this new interface of music, reaching deep within myself to try and best interpret what I saw on the page: the composer’s soul.

I was surprised to see how many lives I touched; how many people I helped, by simply doing what I decided I wanted to do back in elementary school. Then I discovered that not only could I interpret what was on the page, I could create it. Opening my mind to the wonders of creating organized sound, I grabbed the reins of the air around me, and became the architect of my own universe. Discovering the intricacies in others’ masterpieces through performance helped me in crafting my own works.

Spending my past five summers in the Aspen Music Festival and School has only confirmed my desire to pursue a career in music. While in Aspen, I experienced the amazing artistry of world class performers showcasing the works of past and present. I’ve been given the unique opportunity to study under some of the world’s finest teachers in both violin and composition: Yuriy Bekker, Herbert Greenberg and Yiorgos Vassilandonakis. With each new method and opinion, I gained invaluable insight to apply my craft, honing my skills in order to continue chiseling towards the ideal artist. I was surrounded by the best musicians in the world, and each concert I attended cemented my aspirations, inspiring me more and more to go forward into the musical world. The Aspen Music Festival always served as an oasis of artistic integrity that showcased works from all over the art music spectrum; everything from Gabrieli to Glass was displayed, and I absorbed as much of it as I could. The Aspen Music Festival gave me the irreplaceable sense of artistic being that has permeated both hemispheres of my artistry and has helped to further develop them. Whenever I felt doubtful about my abilities as an artist, I only had to look back to the summers I spent in Aspen: the environment I was in, the people I met, the art I witnessed. As I said before, composition and performance has always fed off of each other, and spending my summers in Aspen has solidified the symbiosis between the two. I was given the amazing opportunity to play in the opera orchestra for three extremely different productions: Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Falstaff, and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Participating in this new medium helped me to discover new facets of my own love for music. My ears were opened to the wonders of the human voice, and I saw the astounding results that occur when the arts cross-pollinate. Being able to attend the Aspen Music Festival for the past five summers has proven to be the most significant artistic experience of my life.

Looking ahead, I can not see myself outside the realm of music. Going into conservatory provides me with the final layer of mortar to establish myself as a musician, composer, and artist. Armed with this newly-gained knowledge, I can move forward without fear into the uncertain world of music. Moving forward, I can access the endless potential of that which can’t be seen. With music I can better the world.

Nicholas Bentz

CSOL® Education Outreach

The CSOL® actively supports music education and funding for the arts, annually awarding $2,000 college scholarships and a $2,500 David and Karen Stahl Memorial Scholarship offered to high school seniors who plan to major in music; $250 Matching Grant Awards to members of the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra; Summer Study Awards to talented Lowcountry music students; and Professional Scholarships available to members of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.


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