Celebrating Musical Excellence: Holy Names Music Center’s Talent Grant Competition

Music has the power to touch our souls, inspire our minds, and ignite our passion. It is a universal language that transcends boundaries and connects people from all walks of life. At Holy Names Music Center, we recognize the importance of nurturing and supporting young musicians in their pursuit of excellence. That is why we are thrilled to continue our annual tradition of hosting the Talent Grant Competition, an event that celebrates outstanding musical competence, artistic sensibility, and promise.

The Talent Grant, valued at $500, is awarded to a maximum of four students across different categories. This generous grant is specifically dedicated to supporting the recipients’ musical instruction at Holy Names Music Center with one of our esteemed instructors. It serves as a stepping stone for these talented individuals to further develop their skills and pursue their musical aspirations.

The competition spans four categories: piano, strings, voice, and “other” instruments, which encompass woodwinds, brass, percussion, harp, and guitar. The adjudicator has the responsibility of carefully evaluating each participant’s performance, taking into account various elements of musicianship. It is a comprehensive assessment that goes beyond technical proficiency, encompassing aspects like interpretation, expression, tempo, and even audition etiquette and poise. HNMC’s Talent Grant Competition is unique in that the student’s talent and potential are both considered – making it possible for even a beginning student who shows great promise to win the grant.

This year Holy Names Music Center’s Talent Grant Adjudication took place on Friday, June 2nd, 2023. Twenty three students out of approximately 300 were recommended by their instructors, and 20 of them had the honor of performing for our esteemed adjudicator, Verne Windham. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Windham, who recently retired from Spokane Public Radio and has made significant contributions to the music community as a choir director and conductor.

Verne Windham, Adjudicator

The participants showcased their remarkable talents and Adjudicator, Verne Windham, provided valuable feedback and notes to each participant, ensuring that they continue to grow and refine their skills. It is through these such experiences that students gain invaluable insights and guidance, shaping their musical journeys and propelling them towards success.

Now, it is with great pleasure that we announce the recipients of the 2023-2024 HNMC Talent Grant. These exceptional individuals have demonstrated extraordinary musical abilities, artistic sensibility, and immense promise. They are the embodiment of dedication, hard work, and passion for music.

Please join us in congratulating the winners of the $500 grant:

Gabriella Bambino, piano – student of Mina Somekawa
Jade Frias, piano – student of Linda Siverts
Jordan Gortner, voice – student of Nancy Klingman
Henry Ramey, violin – student of Mariana Dimitrova

We would also like to acknowledge the Honorable Mentions, who have shown tremendous potential and dedication. These students will receive a $100 grant as a recognition of their remarkable talent and commitment.


Honorable Mention Winners receiving a $100 grant:

Noah Eddy, violin – student of Garnik Goukasian
Matthew Smith, cello – student of Sr. Karen Conlin
Max Sweeney, viola – student of Claire Keeble
Bryce Williams, piano – student of Linda Siverts

Each participant in this year’s competition deserves high commendation. Holy Names Music Center is proud to have been a part of their musical journeys. The Talent Grant Competition not only provides financial support but also serves as a catalyst for personal growth and development. We are confident that these talented individuals, along with their devoted teachers, will continue to achieve remarkable milestones and contribute to the world of music. We are excited to witness your continued progress and wish you all success in your musical endeavors!

2023-2024 Talent Grant Winners:

Gabriella Bambino, piano. Winner of a $500 grant. Gabriella loves music. Her love and appreciation for music undoubtedly was influenced by her grandfather “Poppy Ron”. He was a professional musician and recording artist and would frequently play guitar and sing with her since she was 2 years old. She has taken 36 months of Piano instruction. She loves to perform and has been performing for audiences since she was 3 years old through dance and competitive figure skating. Gabriella plays piano for her school mass and is also a member of her school choir. If you ask her what she loves most she will tell you without hesitation it is her Dog Anaheim, but aside from family and friends and her dog she loves music.

Jade Frias, piano. Winner of a $500 grantJade is 16 years old, a junior high school at Deer Park Homelink, and finishing her 1st year at Spokane Falls Community College through the Running Start program. Playing the piano and singing has always been part of her life. Her way of relaxing is sight reading various types of music found online. She also enjoys providing music at church and other events.

Jordan Gortner, voice. Winner of a $500 grant. Jordan recently won an Emerging Artist Award from Rotary. Jordan says: “I adore music. From the percussive beat of crickets and traffic in the night time, to the ocean of conversation in school, to the energizing beat and joy of an organized musical group performing. I listen, and I love it all. Some people say “you are not what you do.” And for the most part I agree, except when it comes to music. Music is not just what I do, it is at the core of me: the excited rhythm of my heart, the soothing thrum of my blood, and the joyous exaltation of sound that we call singing. So how, then, could I ignore the trumpet heralding the open gates to the world of music? The simplest answer is that I could not. I could not bear it. I burst into this realm of music and will continue whirling about within it forever.”

Henry Ramey, violin. Winner of a $500 grant. Henry is a musician and a runner and has played the violin for 4 years.

Noah Eddy, violin. Honorable Mention winner of a $100 grant. Noah is 17 and has been taking violin lessons for 9 years.

Matthew Smith, cello. Honorable Mention winner of a $100 grant. Matthew says he is excited for another year of great music with an AMAZING cello teacher, Sister Karen!
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

Max Sweeney, viola. Honorable Mention winner of a $100 grant. Max is going to be a junior at Ferris High. He’s been playing the viola since I was 10. He also plays with the Spokane Youth Symphony. He plans to study music in college.

Bryce Williams, piano. Honorable Mention winner of a $100 grant. Bryce started taking piano lessons when he was 9 years old and has made piano part of his everyday life. He also enjoys playing basketball, baseball, and building wrist watches.