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A look back at the Pearl Beach Scholarship Showcase and Irvine Family Piano Scholarship Concerts

The annual Scholarship concert has been jointly presented by the Pearl Beach Progress Association and the Irvine Family since the inaugural concert held in May 2005 and in partnership with the Central Coast Conservatorium to offer performance opportunity to students who have excelled in their chosen field.

Patrick Brennan, Artistic Director, Central Coast Conservatorium comments “the Central Coast Conservatorium is most grateful for the financial awards totalling $3,250.00 which includes the Irvine Family Piano Scholarship and Pearly’s Cafe Pearl Beach Scholarship each valued at $1,000 and Russell Grove, Coast Realty and Central Coast Financial Planning Group, the prize money will help them further their musical studies at the CCC”.

The Junior Showcase concert was introduced in 2013 to celebrate solo instrument and vocal performance by the Central Coast Conservatorium junior students.  The showcase concert embraces the concept of “pure performance” rather than “competitive performance” and allows the  younger musicians to perform with focus, passion and conviction.  This year an enthusiastic audience enjoyed a diverse program performed by 10 students with ages ranging from 8 years old.

Winner of the Irvine Family Piano Scholarship Chris Chen, a year twelve student at Central Coast Grammar School performed beautiful renditions by Clementi, Albeniz and Chopin.  Chris has been playing for 11 years and has received numerous accolades over the years. 

The 2022 Pearl Beach Music Scholarship, sponsored by Pearly’s Cafe, adjudicator, Benjamin Kopp said he was generally moved with the high quality and talent presented over the weekend making it extremely difficult to choose.  Announcing the winner, vocalist Mia Cross he commented her beautiful renditions of ‘Meadowlark’ and ‘The Girl in 14 G’ were very moving and her stage presence extremely impressive.

Russell Grove, President of the Pearl Beach Progress Association presented the popular ‘Peoples Choice Award’ valued at $500 in memory of his late wife Frances to fifteen year old violinist Kaito Deed, saying – “Frances was an avid musician all her life, she started studying piano at age 8 and continued her love of music through professional roles in schools and private tuition.  Whenever possible she fostered and nurtured that love of music with young people.   I congratulate  Kaito on his amazing performance this afternoon”.

New this  year, ‘Peoples Choice Runner Up’ generously sponsored by Coast Realty was awarded to violinist Minjy Lee, a 14 year old Narara Valley High School student  who played Violin Sonata No.5 by Beethoven and ‘Spring I Allegro by Vivaldi.

Guest performers this year were the 2021 Pearl Beach Scholarship winner Kayla Lush who has  been playing flute since she was 6 years old, and past Irvine Piano Scholarship winner  Kimberly Gilbert.  Noah Peres accompanist for the two days has extensive experience and is most sought-after with his accompanying skills, compassion and  talent as a supporting musician.