Los Alamos Student Emily Silks Wins First Place in Deborah Beene Music Award Competition

Emily Silks with her marimba, following her first place performance in the Deborah Benne Music Award competition. Courtesy photo

Staff Report

Music filled Fuller Lodge May 5 as five students competed for the Deborah Beene Music Award.

First place went to Los Alamos High School senior Emily Silks who performed on the marimba. She was awarded $1,200 and is planning to attend the University of Montana in the fall, where she will major in music. LAHS senior Aaron Bao on trumpet and junior Chip Mielke on violin tied for second place and each received $400. All three students will be honored at the May 29 LAHS Convocation.

The annual Deborah Beene Music Award was established by the Los Alamos Public Schools and is administered by the Rotary Club of Los Alamos. The award is given in memory of violin and piano student Deborah Beene, daughter of Donald and Sara Beene, who died tragically in December 1973.

The award is based on the demonstration of high-level musical performance and the strength of the student’s application. It is intended to encourage promising musicians. 

Awards are given to music students in grades 9-12 who will use the money for fees for music-related expenses such as to attend a summer music camp, for college costs, for the purchase of a better instrument; or for tuition for private music instruction. 

This year’s judges were violinists Brian and Kay Newnam, pianists Cindy Little and Charlene Cox-Clifton, and vocalist Ed Van Eeckhout, with advance assistance from guitarist Tony Chan. Newnam, Van Eeckhout, and Chan are members of the Rotary Club.

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