Young musicians claim victories at String Rally

Two Outstanding Musician awards were presented at the 2014 String Rally statewide competition, in addition to others.  

The competition took place at Louisiana State University on April 12 and was hosted by the Louisiana Music Teachers Association.

Among those who competed was the university’s Community Music School. Participants were judged based on their musical skills and knowledge and gained preparation for the professional realm of music.

“It is a competition that really helps young students keep up with the repertoire and the knowledge that is appropriate and required for their age,” said Jivka Jeleva, viola lecturer and Community Music School director. “In other words it helps prepare the future generation of young professional musicians.”

The Rally provides an outlet for string players to showcase knowledge and aptitude in scales, sight-reading and music theory in addition to musical performance.

Students must earn a score of 94 or higher to qualify for honors. The highest recognition, Outstanding Musician, is awarded to participants who scored higher than all competitors in their level of competition.

Elise Strain, a Prep B violinist, and Catherine Cerise, a Level III violist, earned first place in their categories in addition to the Outstanding Musician award. Strain, a fourth grade student, has four years of practice playing the violin, while Cerise, a ninth grade student, has nine years of experience.

“This has been a very successful school year for Catherine as she was also selected to be the fist chair violist in the Louisiana All State Orchestra in November 2013,” said Jeleva.

Students participate in different levels according to their school grade. Each musician is required to enter all four competitions in order to win a prize.

“There are three rooms and three different judges,” said Jeleva. “After all the students in each level have played, the judges turn in the rating sheets and then the calculations begin in order to announce the winners.”

Most of the eight musicians representing the Community Music School have practiced music for a majority of their lives.

Awards were also presented to Griffin Wiemelt, Eli Strain, Umika Kuroda and Riley Wiemelt.

Competitors perform solely for judges during Rally day, however the award winners will perform before an audience at a winners recital. 

“After Rally day a winners recital is scheduled where all the winners perform and receive their trophies,” said Jeleva.  “This year’s winners’ recital has not yet been scheduled.”

For more information on the Louisiana Music Teachers Association visit their website at