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Nerves, excitement for rising stars at week-long competition

Nineteen rising stars, their parents (and some grandparents), and teachers and accompanists have flocked since Tuesday 9 October 2018 to the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Parow for the 2018 National Youth Music Competition.

They came from wide and far to compete, support and witness how the annual reality contest unfolds. Four days, one gold medal and prizes of more than R145 000 are at stake.

Pianist Beate Boshoff (middle), 18, and her music teacher Jenny Reed, came to fly the flag for Bethlehem in the Free State.

Bassoonist Liam Slabbert (second from right), 15, is closer the home from Brackenfell in Cape Town. Together with his music teacher Carin Bam (far right) and flanked to the left by his mother, Amanda Baard and Charlene Bogenhagen (far left) are in high spirits before the start of the competition.

The atmosphere was festive before the start, but there were also those who sussed out the fellow contenders prior to the serious business of competing.

The 17-year-old saxophonist Dylan Crous and he parents from Diep River in Cape Town are in deep concentration, studying the programme and contemplating his chances against the 18 other contestants.

Pianist Leo Huan, 15, from Die Wilgers in Pretoria, had his biggest supporter, his mother, Jing Chen, with him. Fellow pianist, Louis Nel, 17, (far right) from Brooklyn in Pretoria and Marichen Kapp are also excited to be in Cape Town.

Clara Lubbe, 16, and her mother Gitte came all the way from Monument Park in Pretoria.

The contestants had to battle it out over four rounds in three categories, namely piano, woodwind and strings.

Five of the seven pianists have progressed to the semi-finals. They are Bate Boshoff, 17, from Bethlehem, Leo Huan, 15, from Die Wilgers, Pretoria, Louis Nel, 17, from Brooklyn, Pretoria, Qden Blaauw, 14, from De Tijger, Cape Town and Gerhard Joubert, 16, from Stellenbosch.

But what is a competition without adjudicators. This year nine esteemed academics and musicians have joined forces to listen how the rising stars tell their individual stories through music.

They are front vltr Khanyile Mthetwa, flute lecturer at Wits, Prof Nina Schumann, University of Stellenbosch (piano), Michael Maas, chairman, Prof Ella Fourie, Professor Emeritus University of Pretoria (piano). Back fltr Vaughan Pietersen, (Head of Frank Pietersen Music School, Paarl), Prof John Hinch, Professor Emeritus University of Pretoria (flute), John Theodore, Music Advisor at the Western Cape Education Department (piano), Polina Burdukova, cello lecturer at the University of Pretoria (strings), Prof Corvin Matei, Head of Flute and Conducting at Stellenbosch University and Dr Becky Stelzner, senior lecturer, and head of the woodwind and chamber music studies at the University of Cape Town.

Former competition contestants and other rising university students serve on the shadow jury as part of the National Youth Music Foundation’s vision of training a new generation of adjudicators.

They are front ltr Rosemarie Lemmer, former contestant (UP), Joshua Louis (UCT), Advisor Prof John Hinch, and 2017 gold medallist and first prize winner, Cameron Williams (US). Enforcing their ranks in the back fltr Mulalo Mphaphuli (UCT), Lihle Mabhula (UCT), Pearl Jung (UCT), Chris Njapha (US), and former contestants Jolandi Schaap (UP) and Nicholas Bruiners (UCT.