Meredith College piano faculty and alumnae were a prominent presence once again at the annual state conference of NCMTA, the North Carolina Music Teachers Association. This year’s conference, held October 20-23 at Wake Forest University, featured Meredith’s significant contributions not only as teachers, but also as directors, officers, and presenters.
In 2015, Meredith College hosted the NCMTA Conference under the direction of Kent Lyman, head of Meredith’s Keyboard Division. This year, Lyman, current member of the NCMTA Board of Directors, ran the Senior Division state level of the prestigious MTNA National Competition for students, which had such a large number of participants that it spread over two days. Kenny Hoang, a student of Margaret Evans, was awarded third place (Honorable Mention) in this highly competitive field. Hoang was also chosen as one of three students statewide to perform in a master class for Ann Schein, concert artist of international renown. Schein has performed twice at Meredith College during past Chopin Festivals, and was one of two esteemed judges for our national Chopin Bicentennial Piano Competition, 2010.
Tom Lohr, Lyman and Evans were also well-represented by their students who were chosen to perform in the annual State Honors Recital. In order to qualify for this recital, students must have earned the highest rating the previous spring when performing at both district and state festivals.
Recent Meredith graduates from the B.Mus. (Piano Performance) program, Katherine Barton and Yee-Wing Chan, were featured speakers at the conference. Barton, a former student of Margaret Evans, is now a teaching professional in her own right with an independent studio. Last spring, she was awarded a stipend through NCMTA’s Independent Music Teachers Forum that she used for study in Austria. Her presentation was “Of Pianos and Palaces: Reflections on the Classical Music Festival, Eisenstadt, Summer Academy. “ Barton related how her experience of studying in the exact places where famous composers had lived and composed greatly inspired and informed her own performances and musical understanding. (See cmf.ou.edu Barton’s photograph is featured being coached by the Program Director.) Yee-Wing Chan, a former student of Kent Lyman, completed two Master’s degrees following her Meredith College graduation: Piano Performance (East Carolina University), and Music Theory (Florida State University); she is now pursuing a Certificate in Advanced Performance Studies (ECU). Chan’s presentation was “Chen Yi’s Pedagogical Piano Works: A Stylistic Analysis and Performance Interpretation. “ Chen Yi, one of America’s foremost living composers, was Guest Composer-in-Residence at Meredith College in 2007.
Meredith College Music alumnae and former Music Department faculty continue to be among the prominent officers of NCMTA and of its national umbrella, the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). Examples include Diane Blanchard (B.Mus.), who has held multiple state offices and has now been named Southern Division Director. Frank Pittman, former Meredith Faculty, has been named Director of the State Piano Performance Festival. Debra Heath (B.Mus.) currently serves as NCMTA Secretary.
Congratulations to these Meredith colleagues, their students, and alumnae! Your contributions exemplify the lasting effects of quality music training, reaching far beyond the College itself.
—Submitted by Margaret Evans, music faculty