Antonia Whelan of Harbour Grace has once again wowed the adjudicators at the Kiwanis Club of Carbonear regional music festival.
The 16-year-old Level II student at Carbonear Collegiate claimed her third rose bowl since 2010 during the grand finale of the 43rd music extravaganza tonight (March 21) at the Conception Bay North Regional Community Centre.
But the piano virtuoso said this latest one — the senior rose bowl, the most coveted prize available at the festival — is the most special.
“It feels really good,” the soft-spoken musician stated following the presentation.
Kristian Butt of Carbonear, who performed in the vocal category, was runner-up. She is the daughter of Frank and Karen Butt, and the younger sister of former festival participant Dylan Butt.
Whelan also won junior rose bowls in 2010 and 2012, and was part of the Carbonear Collegiate Jazz Band that won the instrumental rose bowl on Wednesday.
She’s come a long way from the time when she ran off the stage crying as a shy seven-year-old, said her beaming father, Eddie Whelan.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and effort. She’s been playing since she was three,” Eddie said.
Antonia’s mother is Marliese Whelan, and both parents come from families with strong music backgrounds.
Once painfully shy, Antonia now has the ability to wow an audience when she comes alive at the piano.
Antonia travels to St. John’s every Sunday for lessons with her teacher, Tim Steeves, and practices at least one hour daily.
She performed an opus by Sergei Rachmaninoff, a roughly four-minute piece she had been preparing since October, and played from memory.
“I really like his style,” she said.
Thursday’s event was the third of three grand concerts, and marked the conclusion to what was described as yet another successful festival, with roughly 2,200 participants and roughly $8,500 in prizes available.
For more comprehensive coverage, including stories, award winners and photos, pick up a copy of the March 26, 2013 print edition of The Compass.