Jesse Thompson, a 17-year-old violinist, is the 2014 winner of the Williamsport Music Club $1,500 Budd Scholarship. A student at Williamsport Area High School, Thompson is the son of Kate and Michael Thompson.
The scholarship is offered annually to a qualified Lycoming County student who is graduating this year and is planing to pursue higher education in music.
Thompson won the scholarship with a performance of the "Allegro Moderato" from the Concerto No. 2 in D minor, by Henryk Wieniawski.
Thompson will perform this movement again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday during the Williamsport Music Club Gala in the Robert M. Sides Family Music Center auditorium, 201 Mulberry St. He will be accompanied by Yvonne Sarch.
He is an accelerated junior, who through summer study and on-line courses, will graduate from Williamsport Area High School this year. He will use next year to prepare for the auditions required to apply for music schools such as Juilliard, Eastman and the New England Conservatory of Music.
Thompson learned about the scholarship opportunity through Matt Radspinner, the Williamsport Area High School strings director and through his private teacher, Dr. Kenneth Sarch.
Students applying for the scholarship must submit a performance tape or CD in advance. They also must perform memorized material from standard repertoire.
The scholarship committee chairwomen are Doris Teufel and Marilyn Burget.
In addition to private lessons from Sarch, Thompson has traveled to New York City to study with an instructor at Juilliard. "Orchestra is my life," Thompson said. "(Orchestra) has taught me practice doesn't make perfect, it makes progress. But with passion and determination, the sky's the limit."
Thompson has been playing since he was 8 years old, practicing four to five hours every weekend since the age of 12.
He told of a memorable experience in third grade where the district music teachers came to his elementary school and demonstrated all the instruments, resulting in Jesse choosing the violin. Thompson plays in the Williamsport Youth Symphony under the direction of Dr. William Ciabattari, sings in the high school chorus directed by Kent Weaver, has played in the Williamsport Chamber Choir orchestra and performed in various local churches.
Thompson played at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Conference in Hershey this year and auditioned in the Young Artists Competition sponsored by the Hershey Symphony Orchestra, where he tied for second place.
He hopes to play professionally in an orchestra and also to teach privately.
The concert is free and open to the public. The Williamsport Music Club is an affiliate of the Pennsylvania and National Federation of Music Clubs.