On October 10 FIM Flint School of Performing Arts held its biannual Concerto Competition, where high school musicians compete for the chance to perform with the Flint Youth Symphony Orchestra or Flint Youth Wind Ensemble. Violinist Carlie Tate, a 10th grader and the youngest contestant of the day – won the competition. First and second runners-up were 11th grade bassoonist Quinlan Bollwitt and 12th grade violinist Kaysundra Gillian.

Davin Pierson Torre, FSPA Director, said the competition is an important opportunity for high school musicians planning to study music at the higher education level and ultimately have a professional career as a performer.

Competition winner Carlie Tate had been hoping to compete since she was just 10 years old. She worked on Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major for many months prior to the competition. She explained that bringing the music to life was one of the biggest challenges in the preparation process.

“Musicality is very important to me, and my goal was to give the music an interpretation that was unique while still sounding like Mozart. The process was not easy, and I always will find something that I can improve on, but I did the best I could, and I left with good spirits,” said Tate.

When recalling the performance experience, Tate described how she used her nervousness to propel her performance.

“I have learned that nerves can be a good thing. [They can] help express musicality, which is what I was looking for in the music. I enjoyed the performance even with the nerves, and I would have it no other way,” she said.

Tate was surprised to find out she had won the competition, especially as the youngest participant.

“Everyone performed amazingly, so anybody could have won,” she said. “For them to choose me…it was a huge honor, and it still is!”

Tate gives gracious thanks to her instructor, Joseph Gray, for his guidance and belief in her. She also expressed thanks to the judges for their time and kindness, as well as wishing the best to her fellow musicians and competitors.

The Concerto Competition is a learning and growing experience for all who participate.

“Whether they win or not, this journey prepares them for their futures,” said Torre. “The winner then has the priceless experience of performing their concerto with a full orchestra or wind ensemble backing them up.”