On Sunday, January 10, 2021, the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles (QCSYE) held its annual Concerto Competition. Eight confident Youth Symphony Orchestra (YSO) members auditioned to win one of two prizes. The YSO Prize winner is awarded the opportunity to play their concerto at the QCSYE Winter Concert in February, accompanied by the YSO. The Grand Prize winner performs their concerto with the QCSO at the QCSO/QCSYE Side-by-Side Concert in April. Winners are selected by a committee consisting of professional community musicians from Northwest Illinois and Eastern Iowa.
The winner of the 2020-2021 Grand Prize is pianist Quentin Fonseca. Fonseca is a sophomore at Alleman High School in Rock Island, IL and this is his first season as a member of the YSO. He has been studying piano for over 6 years with the past two as a student of Dr. Marian Lee. He hopes to continue to pursue his passion for classical piano for many years to come. In addition to music, Quentin enjoys playing football, golf, and baseball.
The YSO prize winner is Erika Holmberg, trumpet. Holmberg has been involved in the arts since a young age, having played trumpet for five years, piano for 11, cello for seven, and voice for seven. She has participated in the QCSYE for 8 years and is in her third year as a member of the YSO. Holmberg has been a two-time Iowa All-State Music Festival selection for both chorus and band and has made the SEIBA Honor Band, OPUS Honor Choir, NCACDA Honor Choir, NATS Vocal Regional Finals, the SEISTA Honor Orchestra, and Piano Baroque and Classical Festival Finals multiple times each, in addition to other various music activities. Holmberg serves as a Drum Major in the PVHS Marching Band, is a part of the PVHS Spartan Winds, Spartan Jazz Band, Full orchestra, Chamber Choir, Leading Tones Jazz Choir, Scholastic Bowl, Spartan Ambassadors, and the Varsity Girls’ Golf Team. Holmberg also spends a lot of time rehearsing and performing with her string trio, The Lyra Trio, at the Deanery School of Music. Holmberg enjoys spending time with family and friends, being outside, playing golf, and practicing new water sport tricks at the lake. In college, she plans to study Psychology and/or Music Education and Trumpet Performance.
During the competition, COVID-19 restrictions were implemented to ensure the health and safety of students, including a limited in-person audience of less than ten socially-distanced adjudicators and audience members. Masks and sanitation were required. Fonseca will perform the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra at the Side-by-Side Concert in April 2022. Holmberg will perform and record the Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto with the YSO on Sunday, May 9, 2021.
The Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles (QCSYE) program consists of five performance groups (four youth orchestras and a youth choir) for students in grades two through twelve. Under the direction of the outstanding QCSYE conducting staff, members have the opportunity to perform great orchestral and choral repertoire with the most talented young musicians in the area and learn from the mentorship of professional musicians from throughout the region. Ensemble members come from the greater Quad Cities, as well as other communities in southeast Iowa and northwest Illinois.