Tickling the ivories

Area piano students demonstrate skills at IMTA Honors Recital

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Timothy Pobanz, of Lytton, performs four pieces at the IMTA Honor Recital Sunday at First Covenant Church. Pobanz was the winner in Level E (ages 16-17) at IMTA’s District Piano Auditions Feb. 3. He and other winners will perform on March 10 at the State Iowa Music Teachers auditions at Iowa State University in Ames.

Sounds of Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Schubert filled First Covenant Church Sunday afternoon, as some of the top young piano players in the region showed their skills before next week’s competition.

The Honors Recital featured students age 18 and younger who placed at the top of their age division at Feb. 3’s Fort Dodge Area District Auditions of the Iowa Music Teachers Association.

“This is an honor recital to recognize them, and to give them a chance to perform before the state competition next Saturday in Ames,” said Linda Benson, piano teacher from Gowrie.

The Solfeggietto Chapter is the local arm of IMTA, including private music teachers from Algona, Lytton, Rolfe, Jefferson and all around the Fort Dodge region.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Mary Greenfield, a sixth-grade student from Humboldt, gets help from her mom, Kristine, before the IMTA Solfeggietto Chapter’s Honors Recital Sunday at First Covenant Church. Mary Greenfield was the Level C winner at the District IMTA Piano Auditions Feb. 3.

The winners from six age divisions will perform Saturday at the State IMTA Auditions at Iowa State University in Ames.

The students have worked hard, Benson said, and it shows in their performance.

Benson herself had two students in the competition.

Mary Greenfield, a sixth-grader from Humboldt, had four pieces to play for the audience. She’s been rehearsing the newest of the four since November, and she picked out her first piece last summer.

The tryouts were “kind of stressful,” Greenfield said. “It’s kind of nerve-wracking while the judge is sitting there writing notes.”

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Madelyn Farley, of Gowrie, takes a bow after her performance at the Honors Recital Sunday. Farley was the alternate for Level A (ages up to 9).

Greenfield won in Level C this year, and won in Level B last year. She’s been playing piano for 7 years now.

Her sister, Elizabeth Greenfield, was the B level winner this year. Elizabeth was happy with the setup at First Covenant, and with the baby grand at the front after she went up to get some warmup scales in.

“It’s a good piano,” Elizabeth Greenfield said. “It’s a little different from the one at home. We need to have our piano tuned.”

Students picked three or four memorized pieces for the audition, and played them in front of a judge hired for the occasion, Benson said.

For years the event was held at Phillips Middle School, she said. Then students had their competition at First Presbyterian for a number of years, but the event needed more pianos.

Now the auditions are held at St. Olaf Lutheran Church.

At each age level a winner was chosen, along with an alternate and a special honorable mention. Students also take a music theory test in the competition, and can be named to a theory honor roll by scoring 90 percent or above on the test.

District IMTA results

Student results of the 2018 District IMTA Auditions:

Level A (up to age 9):

Winner — Ellie Lemmenes, Humboldt.

Alternate — Madelyn Farley, Gowrie.

Honorable mention — Grace Rider, Webster City.

Level B (ages 10-11):

Winner — Elizabeth Greenfield, Humboldt.

Alternate — Luke Royster, Webster City

Honorable mention — Ava Binkley, Gowrie

Level C (ages 12-13):

Winner — Mary Greenfield, Humboldt

Alternate — Sydney Oswald, Webster City

Honorable mentions — John Sorenson, Humboldt, Caryl Appel, Webster City, and Allison Oswald, Webster City

Level D (ages 14-15):

Winner — Clay Willadsen, Webster City

Alternate — Ethan Long, Gowrie

Honorable mention — Rylie Becker, Humboldt, and Tia Woeste, Humboldt.

Level E (ages 16-17):

Winner — Timothy Pobanz, Lytton

Alternate — Nathan Rethwisch, Fort Dodge

Honorable mention — Tyler Goepfert, Webster City

Level F (age 18):

Winner — Emily Willadsen, Webster City.