GREENFIELD — Whether the skill was hitting high notes, tickling the ivories or expressing complex emotions through a theatrical musical performance, it was clear there was a lot of talent in the room Friday at the 15th annual George and Icy Vaughn Performing Arts Scholarship Competition.
The event, conducted at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts in downtown Greenfield, is an annual scholarship competition for vocal and instrumental performing arts students. It is organized and hosted by the Hancock County Community Foundation.
Top honors went to Benjamin Moan, a New Palestine High School senior who performed Bach’s “Sicilienne and Allegro” on alto sax, and Marshall Harrison Kern for his vocal performance of “Confrontation” from the musical, “Jekyll and Hyde.” Both received a $4,000 scholarship.
Moan also got the nod from the audience for the 2016 Vaughn People’s Choice Award, undoubtedly in part to his large cheering section at the event.
The people’s choice award gives the winner a $500 grant for the performing arts department of choice at their high school, as well as a personalized plaque and a traveling trophy to be hosted at the winner’s high school.
Judges rated the students on tone, intonation, rhythm, technique, interpretation, performance and ability to stay under a five-minute time limit, said foundation executive director Mary Gibble.
“It’s just a blessing to be a part of this competition,” Kern said. “I’m ecstatic after this performance.”
The eight finalists who performed Friday were drawn from a pool of 22 competitors; each Hancock County High School nominates two performers — one vocalist and one instrumentalist — to advance.
Each finalist received a $500 scholarship for advancing to the Friday contest.
The annual George and Icy Vaughn Performing Arts Scholarship was developed in 1999 when George Vaughn, preceded in death by his wife, Icy, left their estate to the Hancock County Community Foundation and charged them with the stewardship of an endowment that would forever generate grants for scholarships.
George Vaughn enjoyed the performances of many young people at the nursing home where he lived after his wife’s death and felt moved to find a way to support young creatives, Gibble said.
Icy Vaughn was a creative person as well, she said — she was known to write poetry and sketch pictures.
George and Icy Vaughn Scholarship finalists:
Eastern Hancock High School
Dylan Alkire – vocal
Bailey Puterbaugh – instrumental
Greenfield-Central High School
Eleda Plouch – instrumental
Marshall Harrison Kern – vocal
Mt. Vernon High School
Ashley Fritz – vocal
Sabrina Woods – instrumental
New Palestine High School
Benjamin Moan – instrumental
Sarah Black – vocal
2016 vocal and instrumental performance scholarship amounts
1st place – $4,000
2nd place – $3,000
3rd place – $2,000
4th place – $1,000