On Friday, the College of Musical Arts (CMA) held its annual awards ceremony announcing the winners of prizes and scholarships. Although there have been many awards, for Luke Serrano his award means a lot.
“Winning this award was amazing, I had no idea. It’s really great because my other scholarships are coming to an end. I’m going to be a fifth-year student to finish my minors, and for my Italian minor, I’m planning to study abroad next year, so this scholarship is really going to go a long way,” Serrano, a student in the Opera program, mentioned.
Serrano won the Joseph and Zola Buford Fellowship in Music for exemplifying excellence in voice. Serrano also performed a piece, “Bella Porta di Rubini”, at the ceremony with Yuefeng Liu on piano.
Serrano wasn’t the only one surprised by his award. Many faculty and students were unaware they had won awards until they were announced at the ceremony. This was the case of Sujin Lee, adjunct assistant professor of voice and opera.
“It was a very unexpected thing, and I’m a little shocked. I felt a little embarrassed because I felt like I wasn’t the right person for it. But I’m also very honored because it comes from my students and it makes me very emotional,” Lee said.
Lee won the Pro Musica Faculty/Staff Award. This award is chosen based on nominations made by students. Some of the nominations were read at the award ceremony, and students said she felt like a mother away from home. She made an effort to attend all the performances that her students attended and was very supportive of them.
The other faculty award went to Richard Schnipke, Assistant Professor of Conducting Choral Activities. He won the Roger Schupp Distinguished Faculty Award.
One of the winners of the surprise student prize was violinist Anna Eyink. She was previously told to be the recipient of the Robert and Leona Fellers Scholarship, but was surprised at the ceremony with the Steve VunCannon Memorial Music Scholarship.
“I’m very happy. One of them I knew I was getting because I was notified online, but the other one I had no idea. So that was a really good surprise. I am very grateful,” Eyink said.
Students in all music programs won prizes, including jazz, opera, orchestra, and prizes for specific instruments.
A total of 45 prizes and scholarships were awarded to students and professors during the ceremony. Some awards included the Bushong Trumpet Fellowship, awarded to Thomas Maddigan; the Noe Family Scholarship, awarded to Jay Conner; Distinguished Thesis/Document Award, awarded to Bobby Rue; and the Bernice R. Shanklin Music Fellowship, awarded to Jacob Smith.
The E. Printy Arthur Jazz Studies Award went to Joseph “Rocky” Starks, and the award presenter had no idea who the winner was.
“I don’t know who Joseph is; I only know him as Rocky,” joked David Bixler, director of jazz operations.
The awards ended with the Dean of CMA paying tribute to all of the students and faculty who won awards throughout the year and to the alumni for making the scholarships possible.
For Laura Melton, Chair of Music Performance Studies, the presentation of these awards is extremely important.
“We need to honor our hard-working and successful students, and we want to motivate them to keep working hard. We have a lot of really, really talented students here, so I’m really proud of them,” Melton said.