Abigail Seibert, a senior from Benton, Ark., and a student of Dr. Cai Lei, was awarded first place at Ouachita Baptist University’s 32nd annual Virginia Queen Piano Competition on April 17. The competition was held in McBeth Recital Hall and was judged by the piano team Pas de Duo.
Seibert performed a Bach fugue and “Melody in F” by Rubenstein during the competition. She is active in Sigma Alpha Iota international music fraternity for women and plans to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in music.
Siebert received $700 with her first place prize. Kristin Cordell, a senior from Fort Smith and a student of Dr. Ouida Keck, received second place and a prize of $300. Joe Anderson, a sophomore from Hot Springs and a student of Dr. Cai Lei, received third place and a prize of $150. Honorable mentions with an award of $25 each went to Natalie Carroll, a freshman from Zimbabwe and a student of Dr. Ouida Keck, and to J.K. Slyby, a freshman from Hot Springs and a student of Dr. Cai Lei. The cash prizes are available through an endowment fund established by the competition’s namesake, Virginia Queen.
Queen, who attended the competition, is a former OBU piano faculty member who taught at the university for more than 40 years. Queen established the endowment and began the competition while teaching at OBU to motivate Ouachita’s piano majors to excel in their field. Contributors to the fund include Queen’s friends and former students as well as Queen herself, who now lives in Little Rock.
Steven Varney and Naomi Sanchez are Pas de Duo, a piano team from San Francisco. The pair judged the competition as part of a visit to Arkadelphia that they made in order to enhance music education awareness. Their visit also included stops at local elementary schools and a free concert at Ouachita. Their trip was sponsored by Dr. Ouida Keck and the Arkadelphia Philharmonic Club with funding provided by a Ross Foundation grant. The Ross Foundation is an Arkadelphia-based philanthropic organization.
The other contestants in the annual competition included C.E. Fifer, Kathleen Reynolds, Jon Sanders, Rebecca Seago, Christen Smith, Oliver Thomas, Julie Tucker, Grant Turner, Christina Wood and Sarah Wood.
By Megan Lindsey