Celebrating talent

Emily Bicknese’s fast fingers on the flute won her the top honor at the Karl King Memorial Scholarship Concert on Sunday – a $1,000 scholarship to put toward her education at the University of Northern Iowa.

“Also possibly toward a new flute,” Bicknese said. “I’ve had the one I’m playing for a long time.”

Bicknese, a freshman at UNI, was one of six college freshmen and high school seniors who auditioned Sunday afternoon for a single $1,000 scholarship and two $500 scholarships to Iowa Central Community College.

The two $500 awards were won by Jacob Bennett, a tuba player from South Hamilton Community School, and Allison Rinard, a flute player from Manson Northwest Webster High School.

All six participants played with the King band in the concert later in the day.

Bicknese picked out her solo, a Hungarian pastoral fantasia, because of how it sounded.

“It reminds me of a wild Gypsy violin player. Hungarian dances, and telling a sad story in the beginning, and it develops from there,” she said.

“One of my passions would be to teach young kids. I love kids. That’s why I chose music education, because I love teaching so much, Bicknese said. “But also I would really enjoy pursuing teaching at a college level, with more advanced students.”

In college, she has to prepare songs much more quickly than in high school.

“Last year in high school I practiced one solo for the year and played that for all my contests,” she said, “but this year in the fall and spring I’ve gone through so many solos, and been expected to prepare them quickly.

“I’ve really enjoyed that challenge.”

Rinard said she spent about a month preparing her song.

“I’m a huge procrastinator,” she said. “I’ve been playing about non-stop for the past couple days.”

Bennett said he will pursue an Associate Degree in music next year at Iowa Central. He said it’s “really fun” to play with the King band, “because they have a lot of experience. They know what they’re doing, and it sounds great.”

Rinard agreed.

“I’ve seen them perform before, and it will be fun to be part of something like that,” she said.

Rinard will major in welding technology next year at Iowa Central as well as being active in the band.

“I’ll be in marching band for sure,” Rinard said. “And hopefully jazz band.”

Amber Yoakam, a trumpet player and Iowa State University freshman, didn’t win the scholarship but said her audition went very well. “It was a great experience,” Yoakam said. “It gives me a chance to perform, and get some criticism. It really helps.”

Yoakam said she played with the King Band twice before, in high school.

“It’s pretty cool to play with them today, and play lead trumpet. That’s a plus.”

Jeremy Smith, Iowa Central Marching Band instructor, King Band player and one of the scholarship judges, said it’s always tough to pick out a winner.

“It makes me happy because you get quality kids trying out for the scholarship,” he said.

Smith said the winning flutist “has great control of her instrument. She keeps everything very musical, great technical ability, and outstanding dynamics.”

“It’s an interesting piece because it has lyrical movements that have some long notes and some sustained notes and dynamics, but there are also more technical passages, meaning she had her fingers flying for a good chunk of it too.”