Rotary Club Of Los Alamos Announces Annual Deborah Beene Music Competition Winners

Judges for the 2019 Deborah Beene Music Competition, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Los Alamos and the Los Alamos Arts Council, from left, Brian Newnam, Cindy Little, Tjett Gerdom and LAPS Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus. Courtesy/Rotary
First place winner pianist Presley Gao
The Rotary Club of Los Alamos hosted the annual Deborah Beene Music Competition April 27.
The event is open to all Los Alamos students in grades 7th through 12th.
Second place winner saxophonist Liam Devlin
This award was established in memory of Deborah Beene, daughter of Donald and Sara Beene, a violin and piano student who died while enrolled in school here in December 1973. The local Rotary Club has been sponsoring this competition since 1995, with the Los Alamos Arts Council co-sponsoring as it has for many years. There have been 94 student winners since the competition’s inception.
Tied for third place soprano Nora Cullinan
This year $3,500 in awards money was shared among four students. The awards are intended to assist students in their musical growth. Winning students are asked to use the money for one of the following: fees for attending a summer music camp; college or university music expenses; purchase of a better instrument; or tuition for private music instruction.    
Before a panel of judges, seven finalists with expertise on piano, violin, viola, cello, saxophone and voice performed for the top three prizes. This year, there was a tie for third place. Award winners are: First Place, Presley Gao, piano; Second Place, Liam Devlin, alto sax; Third Place tie, Nora Cullinan and Jessica Erkkila, both sopranos.

Tied for third place soprano Jessica Erkkila

Judges this year were Cindy Little (piano), Kurt Steinhaus (French horn and Superintendent of Schools), Tjett Gerdom (trumpet, tenor, and director of the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra) and Rotarian Brian Newnam (violin, viola), who has coordinated this competition for many years.
The competition was held at Fuller Lodge and the United Church of Los Alamos.