GREENFIELD — County connoisseurs of the performing arts were showered with everything from Sondheim to Shakespeare Sunday, and for marimba aficionados the George and Icy Vaughn Performing Arts Scholarship Competition was nothing less than a percussive holiday.
In its 13th year, the competition, presented by the Hancock County Community Foundation, brought together 17 of the county’s brightest performers to sing, dance, orate and play for a share of more than $25,000 in scholarship money.
In addition to the $19,500 awarded to the top five finishers, each of the other performers took home a $500 scholarship.
Collegiate faculty along with music and dance industry professionals judged the event, held at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts in Greenfield. New this year was a People’s Choice award that allowed audience members to select their favorite.
New Palestine High School marimba player Glen Axthelm, one of five entered in the competition, clinched the inaugural People’s Choice award, recommending the New Palestine High School Performing Arts Department to receive a $500 grant and securing trophies for himself and a traveling trophy for his school.
Austin Fisher of Mt. Vernon High School, who performed Stephen Sondheim’s “No More,” won the competition and a $7,500 scholarship.
“We had a really good turnout, and I think a lot of people were excited about the People’s Choice Award,” said Alyse Vail, HCCF grants officer.
In addition to selections by Schubert, Bizet and Leonard Cohen, special entertainment was provided by the Wilkerson Dance Studio.
The competition, which was televised by NineStar Connect, is funded by an endowed scholarship fund established by the Vaughns’ estate for the promotion and appreciation of the performing arts through the foundation.