WSMC Classical 90.5 recently opened its doors to young musicians auditioning for the chance to share their talents with the world. That opportunity is coming April 26 when popular NPR show From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley visits the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga for a show sponsored by WSMC and Southern Adventist University.
From the Top is the preeminent national showcase for young musicians and features amazing performances and captivating personal stories. About a dozen students made appointments to stop by the radio station and record their audition tape. Lee University music professor Ning An helped warm up the students and moderated a mock interview similar to what they would experience on From the Top.
"We were thrilled about the chance to help Chattanooga musicians audition for a program heard by over 700,000 listeners,” said WSMC General Manager Scott Kornblum.
Roger Lantigua, an 11-year-old violinist from Chattanooga, spent many years wishing for a violin for his birthday. His father says that beginning when Roger was two, he would mimic violinists heard on the stereo by gesturing with a baseball bat as his violin and a ruler as his bow. He finally got his own violin when he turned six and has been practicing ever since. For Roger, this opportunity represents a big step in his young life.
“I just really enjoy playing, and this is just another way for me to share my love of playing with more people,” Roger said.
Ethan Farnam, a nine-year-old pianist, has been playing since before he even started kindergarten and has been perfecting a single piece, Debussy’s “Le Petit Negre,” for almost two of those years. He auditioned for From the Top last year, but didn’t make it. Yet for Ethan and his family, rejection is no deterrent.
“I consider it an honor to receive their feedback,” Ethan said. “My mom pushed me to keep practicing this piece and I’ve slowly grown an affection for it, which I hope will show through in my audition.”
As is customary for From the Top, the show’s producers are looking for local talent to showcase during a portion of their programming. Chattanooga-area musicians between the ages of 8 and 18 (and not yet enrolled in a college or conservatory) are eligible. Applicants can be soloists, ensembles, and even composers. Contestant must submit a completed application form and audition video.
From the Top’s submission deadline for the April 26 Tivoli taping is December 31. If a student needs the videocamera or quiet recording space offered by WSMC, they can contact the station to check on appointment availability. For additional information, call 236.2905 or visit www.southern.edu/wsmc.