Jillian Turner, a sophomore vocal performance and piano major from Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded first place in Ouachita Baptist University’s 36th Annual Virginia Queen Piano Competition held April 26.
Last year, Turner placed second in the competition as a freshman. This year, her performances of Ravel’s “Sonatine” and Prokofiev’s “Etude Op. 2 No. 4” landed Turner in first place. She said she was shocked upon hearing she had won – “but felt very blessed.”
“To me, it was a sure sign from God that He wants me to continue in my double major,” Turner said, “and that it can it be done.”
Of the eight students who competed in this year’s event, four of them earned top finishes and cash awards.
In first place, Turner received a $600 cash award. Second place and a $325 cash award went to Christopher Mazen, a senior worship arts major from Shreveport, La. Both Mazen and Turner are students of Dr. Cai Lei, associate professor of music.
In a tie for third place and sharing the $275 cash award were Courtney Stanage, a junior piano performance major from Hot Springs Village, Ark., and Jordan Denniston, a junior music major from Plano, Texas. Both Stanage and Denniston are students of Dr. Ouida Keck, coordinator of keyboard studies and Addie Mae Maddox Professor of Music.
The competition was founded by Virginia Queen, professor emerita of music, who served at Ouachita for more than 40 years. Dr. Keck described the purpose of the event as a way to “motivate the piano majors and minors to excel in performance.”
David Allen Wehr, a professional pianist and former Ouachita artist-in-residence, served as this year’s guest judge. Wehr also performed a solo concert on campus April 28.
For more information, contact Dr. Ouida Keck at email@example.com or (870) 245-5352.
By Taylor Tomlinson