Twelve contestants performed at the James Bland Music Contest, hosted by the Floyd County Lions Club at the Jacksonville Community Room on Sunday, February 28th. Although the performance roster was down from previous years – due to school weather cancellations that inhibited student practice time – the event was well attended.
Vocalists participating were Andrea Beland, Marah Belcher, Kendra Lester, Jamie Lynn Walters, Mary Wheaton, and Marsden Woddail. Instrumentalists included Ryland Acree, Abigail Bolen, Rebekah Bolen, Elijah Wheaton, Nicholas Weitzenfield, and Tara Wright. Master of Ceremonies, Tom O’Neill introduced each contestant during the hour long program.
“The Annual Bland Music Scholarships Program was established in 1948 to assist and promote cultural and educational opportunities for the musically talented youth of Virginia,” the event program read. The contest is open to public and private school students from K through 12, as well as to homeschoolers.
Before announcing the winners, Lion’s Club President John Getgood spoke of the rich musical heritage of Floyd County and the importance of nurturing musicians from an early age. He said the event has been hosted by the Lion’s Club for the past 5 years and that the club plans to continue with its host support.
3rd place guitar instrumental was won by Elijah Wheaton, who performed a Suite in A Minor, composed by Johann Anton Losy von Losintal. The 3rd place vocalist win was awarded to Marsden Woddail for his vocal performance of Der Mond by Felix Mendelssohn.
Rebekah Bolen took a 2nd place instrumental win for her performance of Jose Ferrer’s Vals Espanol on guitar. Jamie Lynn Walters won 2nd place for her rendition of Summer Time by George Gershwin.
Taking first place wins were pianist Abigail Bolen, playing Clair De Lune by Claude Debussy, and Andrea Beland, who sang Into the Night by Clara Edwards. Beland and other vocalists were accompanied by Floyd County High School music teacher Sandra Smith.
Winners received monetary prizes. They will go on to compete in a regional competition at the Cave Spring Methodist Church in Roanoke on March 14th. Regional winners will compete in the state finals at the Hotel Roanoke on April 18th.
Photos: 1. Andrea Beland singing Into the Night was accompanied by pianist Sandra Smith 2. Rebekah Bolen performing Vals Espanol by Jose Ferrer. 3. Judges at work: Ed Cohn, Krista Truitt, Callie Kilbourne, Caroline Thomas, Phil Woddail, and Allen Vest. 4. Lion’s Club President John Getgood congratulates 1st place instrumentalist Abigail Bolen. 5. 2010 Floyd County Bland Music Contest performers, front row from left: Marsden Woddail, Kendra Lester, Marah Belcher, Nicholas Weitzenfield, Jamie Lynn Walters, Mary Wheaton, Ryland Acree. Back row: Andrea Beland, Abigail Bolen, Rebekah Bolen, and Elijah Wheaton (Tara Wright is not shown). 6. Abigail Bolen and Andrea Beland have a reason to smile. They were first place winners at the Bland Music Contest on Sunday. Read about James Bland, who this regional contest is named after HERE.