Vol. 50, No. 2
Larry MacDonald, Editor
April 2023 – June 2023
If interested in going, contact Jean Weamer.
The last few months have been rather turbulent for our SCS. Carolyn MacDonald resigned from her position as Treasurer of Operations in December. In early February, Kim Streby resigned as co-president. We are thankful to both of them for their years of service. The election of officers was held at our March 12 meeting at Court St. Methodist Church. The vote was unanimous. Here are the results:
– Larry MacDonald
Thanks to the endless hours of volunteer labor, St. Cecilia is back up and running! We aren’t just surviving post-pandemic; we are THRIVING post-pandemic! Committees have shown their devotion by stepping up with program and tea planning, Student Musicale recitals and awards, and, of course, the Byrd Competition. Performers have dedicated hours of practice to create programs of quality. Members have been turning up in greater numbers for performances. Thank you, everyone, for pitching in!
This year’s Byrd Competition was outstanding. Contestants commented on how friendly and well-run our contest is. The young people valued the encouragement they received from older musicians. The judges seemed to enjoy themselves and went the extra mile by speaking individually to each contestant who attended the Afterglow. Well done, people. As Almeda Hunter would say: “The Byrd is the best-kept secret in Flint.” Get the word out there, my friends!
– Jean Weamer
Talk about variety! Well, we certainly have had that and more. We have heard programs with not only classical music, but Broadway, jazz, sacred, secular, to contemporary! It has been a very exciting program year. I am so grateful for all the wonderful music and all the hard work that we are experiencing, and the program year isn’t over yet. Every one of our performing members has really stepped up to the plate!
That was just the adult group; now let’s talk about the young ones!! Our St. Cecilia Student Awards audition and performance were outstanding! We gave out 56 separate awards in the amount of $17,600.00 to very deserving students. All in all, this has been a stellar season and we are looking forward to our next program year. Thank you.
– Nancy Dahle, 1st Vice President, Program and Student Awards Chairman; and committee members Alesia Byrd Johnson, Larry MacDonald, Andrea Floden, and Delaina Oberman
The Student Musical met on January 8. Eight (8) students, all pianists, performed. Guest performer was guitarist Michael Abbasspour. The group met again on February 5, with performances by six (6) pianists and two (2) percussionists. Guests were Townes Miller, flute, and guitarist, Bret Hoag. The March 5 meeting was dedicated to Janet Walworth, SCS longtime performing member and teacher of many SCSM students. Memories of Janet were contributed by several attendees.
SCSM student Carlie Tate, this year’s FSPA Competition winner, performed as violin soloist with the Flint Youth Symphony on Sunday, March 12 at the Whiting.
– Alesia Byrd Johnson, SCSM Counselor
The 2023 Byrd is in the Bag! Despite a wicked snowstorm the night before March 4, the William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition took place, and all 14 vocal contestants auditioned. This year’s winner, Antona Yost, mezzo-soprano, completed her undergraduate work at the University of Southern California. She completed a Master of Music at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, and is currently completing an Artist’s Diploma there. Her music selection for the contest was Stabat Mater, an oratorio from 1952 by Julia Perry.
The second-place winner is Tianchi Zhang, tenor, who received a bachelor’s degree from the Shandong University in China, a master’s degree from Mannes College in New York, and is finishing a doctorate at MSU. The three runners-up are Colleen Cole Beucher, Jeanette Lee, and Bree Nichols. The preliminary judge was Howard Watkins, assistant conductor of the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The three persons who judged the competition on March 4 were Jane Bunnell, Professor of Voice at MSU, Dr. Jonathan Lasch, Assistant Professor at Wayne State, and Kenneth Griffiths, vocal coach and head of piano collaboration at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
– Carol Hinterman, Chair | 810-964-9399, chairman@ByrdArtists.com
Over the past few months, SCS has lost several members. Following the passing of Rhina Griffel (on October 24) and Nancy Lee Fawcett (on November 11), two of the SCS’s oldest members passed away: Mary Jane Ford, age 101 (on Christmas Day) and Eileen Scott, age 96 (on February 1 of this year). All of these faithful and hardworking members will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.
A special loss to the SCS was the death of Janet Walworth on January 30, 2023, just days after her 83rd birthday. An article about Janet was published in the Grand Blanc View on February 17. The following paragraphs are excerpts from this loving tribute.
Janet was born in 1940 in Guatamala to American missionaries. According to Carol Digby Bates, Janet’s childhood friend: “We were both tomboys and very adventurous. …We had a lot of fun, did a lot of stilt walking and gasoline barrel rolling….We learned a lot of disciplines, a lot of camaraderie with other missionary kids all over Central America….It was great adventure. [Janet] learned to play the piano when she was 4 years old, and by the time she was 10 years old she was traveling by mule to perform in nearby churches….[She] was 15 when civil war broke out in Guatamala and she, her sister Gail, and parents fled to the United States.”
Janet attended a boarding school in Ashville, North Carolina, and later majored in piano at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Around 1960 she arrived in Michigan, where she performed as a concert pianist and started teaching privately. Janet also became a member of the Flint Music Teachers Association and a performing member of the St. Cecilia Society.
Clare Swanson remembers Janet as a very generous teacher and very patient. “She absolutely loved her music, and she loved sharing it with others.” Alesia Byrd Johnson describes Janet in these words: “She was bubbly, she was caring, she was loving…. To her students she was like their piano mom…. She was always there, always supportive.”
A scholarship has been established in Janet’s name. There will be more information on this fund in a future issue of Cadenza.
If you know of others that should be listed in our newsletter, please let us know by contacting the Cadenza editor, Larry MacDonald at (810) 767-9418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dues for the 2023-2024 season are due by June 30, 2023. Please make payment timely so as to be included in the yearbook. Membership levels are as follows:
Payments can be sent via PayPal (link on website) or via check. Please address and send all checks to:
St. Cecilia Society
1025 E. Kearsley St.
Flint, MI 48503
If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Dahle, Treasurer.
We welcome your thoughts and ideas on how to make Cadenza a more viable part of the Society’s ministry to support music in the Flint area.