Cache Valley’s 18<sup>th</sup> annual <a href=”https://youngartistcup.wordpress.com/” target=”_blank”>Young Artist Cup</a> will take place Thursday, April 13, and Friday, April 14, in the auditorium of Mountain Crest High School. The competition begins at 7:00 p.m. both nights, with Thursday featuring vocal and string artists and Friday showcasing piano, brass, wind and percussion performances.
Established in 2000, the Young Artist Cup is designed to honor student musicians in grades 10-12 who attend high school on the south end of Cache Valley. While the competition has traditionally involved participants who live within the boundaries of Mountain Crest High School in Hyrum, it will now include students from the new Ridgeline High School, which opened this school year in Millville. Home-schooled students are also eligible to compete.
The Young Artist Cup was founded by George and Julie Whitney, residents of College Ward, who both grew up in homes enriched with music. Hoping to instill a lifelong love of music in their own children, the Whitneys encouraged them to be involved in the fine arts throughout their schooling. They developed the Young Artist Cup after having attended the 1999 Bennett Cup music competition in Preston, hoping to create a similar opportunity for local students to develop and share their talents.
“It has been very rewarding and enjoyable for us to see kids come and perform,” George Whitney said. “We’ve watched kids start as sophomores that are obvious beginners and watched them come back each year and finally win as a senior, and it is heartwarming to see them improve and know of the dedication it’s taken to do that. We just have thought it’s been a marvelous experience to encourage kids to develop their talents and the confidence to perform in public and give the public a chance to see our young kids in action.”
A total of 42 contestants will participate in the 2017 Young Artist cup, with 22 performances on Thursday and 20 performances on Friday. The Whitneys say the competition has grown every year, and participants often go on to win state and national competitions. George Whitney said it’s been fun to watch.
“It’s just very, very inspiring to see how good these students are and how hard they work,” Julie Whitney agreed. “It is really good music. We do try to include all ranges, so everyone is not a concert pianist. But so many are so good, and even the ones who aren’t, they are so brave to get up there and perform. It is really great to hear the kids. They do a fantastic job.”
Each participant in the Young Artist Cup will receive an event t-shirt and a prize package from community sponsors. Following the competition both evenings, awards will be given to the first, second and third place winners in each category, with honorable mentions being recognized at the judges’ discretion. Each audience will also vote on a “People’s Choice” award. The Whitneys said the value of scholarships and prizes being distributed will exceed $5,000.
The 2017 Young Artist Cup is free to the public, and judges are selected from among Cache Valley’s many talented musicians. While it has been suggested in the past that auditions be held prior to the competition, especially as it continues to grow, George Whitney opposes making the change.
“That is absolutely contrary to what we have wanted to do,” he said. “From the start, the main goal is two-fold. One is to encourage kids to improve their talents and two, reward the best, and I think that has led to the quality and success of our program. We allow anyone to come and perform that’s brave enough to get up and do it.”
More information about the Young Artist Cup, including a link to <a href=”https://youngartistcup.wordpress.com/past-performances/” target=”_blank”>past performances</a>, is available at <a href=”https://youngartistcup.wordpress.com/”>https://youngartistcup.wordpress.com/</a>.