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COVID-19 means no awards concert, but the Oregon Music Hall of Fame still awarded scholarships this year

Friends and associates of the nonprofit Oregon Music Hall of Fame (OMHoF) weren't treated this year to the concerts, awards, and auctions of the annual Awards celebration, in the Brooklyn neighborhood at the Aladdin Theater each October – due, of course, to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

However, while there was no show in in the Aladdin this year, the group still did award four scholarships – with each of the four recipients receiving a $2,500 award.

OMHoF's Co-Founder & Director of College Scholarships, Janeen Rundle – a member of the Southeast Portland Rotary Club, which itself is a supporter of this scholarship program – shared with THE BEE what she'd learned about this year's four scholarship winners from around the state:

Isabella Morill

Piano/French Horn/Composition

Warrenton High School in Warrenton

PROVIDED PHOTO - With the help of her OMHoF scholarship, Isabella Morrill plans to study music composition. "I am very grateful for the opportunity to be recognized by this scholarship," Isabella Morrill told Rundle.

"My father was my biggest source of inspiration – teaching me music theory, always playing music with me, and constantly being insanely encouraging, from the start of my musical journey to today.

"From the very beginning, I have been surrounded with incredible conductors, family members, and other musicians, each one of them pushing me to write the best music I can, practice my instruments, and never lose my passion for music," Morrill reflected about her instructors.

This fall, Morrill plans to focus on a Music Composition degree, attending Western Oregon University, which she considers to have the "best contemporary composition program in the Northwest".

Taylor Youn

Cello

Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego

PROVIDED PHOTO - Taylor Youn will study cello performance, with the help of her OMHoF scholarship. Although she originally wanted to play the flute at a very early age, attending a Young String Ensemble concert at age five inspired her to play the cello, Taylor Youn remarked about her background.

"My best musical moment so far has been playing in the DMZ between South and North Korea – having been lucky enough to have been able to be invited, alongside other high school students, to be a part of the Lindenbaum Music Festival, and to play in a concert that promoted peace across the world."

Youn said she'll be attending the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, studying cello performance. "I chose to pursue music, after a lot of thinking about my career path. I realized that playing music makes me the happiest out of everything."

The scholarship will help her attend this, her "dream school". "Such a blessing," Youn said of the award.

Avery Hsieh

Violin

Corvallis High School in Corvallis

PROVIDED PHOTO - Violinist Avery Hsieh will use her OMHoF scholarship to pursue her musical studies. Her family and instructors have helped her grow musically by "always pushing me to find something deeper and emotional in music, instead of letting me get too bogged down with the technical details," commented Avery Hsieh, after receiving her scholarship.

"Many performers, both professional and students, have helped me see the extent of how music can be shaped for emotional effect, through their expressions of themselves. I always feel that I have something more to delve into, and to unlock for myself," she mused.

In addition to being a musician, Hsieh also teaches and coaches other students through auditions – and supports them from the audience, in their concerts. "These combined moments have always been some of the most magical musical memories I've had."

She plans to attend Vanderbilt University, continuing to take her musical skill in violin to a higher level, and also studying Spanish and Computer Science.

Nicholas Weathers

Clarinet

McNary High School in Keizer

PROVIDED PHOTO - Nicholas Weathers will continue his musical education, thanks to his OMHoF scholarship. It was a jazz saxophonist, who was a substitute teacher in his fifth grade music class, who helped OMHoF Scholar Nicholas Weathers fall in love with music and reed instruments.

"My favorite musical moments, so far, has been traveling and auditioning at conservatories, and meeting and learning from amazing musicians and people from these institutions," said Weathers.

Asked what has helped him progress in music, Weathers responded, "My teachers have inspired me to pursue music, and have consistently pushed me to do my best; so, without their help, I simply would not be where I am today."

His scholarship will help him defray the tuition while attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with Jerome Simas, Weathers disclosed.

For more information about the OMHoF – an organization formed in 2003, both to promote and to preserve the musical arts Oregon, go online – www.omhof.org


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