Local Students Win ONNY Competition

POTSDAM - Silas Smith of Malone won first place in the Orchestra of Northern New York’s Young Artist Competition on Saturday, February 10 at the Crane School of Music.  A harpist, Smith performed Maurice Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro with pianist Nancy  Hull of Potsdam.  As the first place winner, Smith will receive $500 and the opportunity  to perform this work with the Orchestra on its April 28th concert in Hosmer Hall at the Crane School of Music.

Katherine Betrus of Potsdam won second place.  A violinist, Betrus performed Bach's Concerto No. 2 in E Major with pianist Lori Gruneisen. She will receive a $300 prize.

Smith, age 18, has been studying harp for ten years through the National String Project (NSP) at the Crane School, under the direction of Jessica Suchy-Pilalis.  He has attended Crane Youth Music for the past five summers where he studied privately with Dr. Suchy-Pilalis and performed with the CYM Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Harp Ensemble.  He has also been featured in the CYM Honors Recital on several occasions.  Silas has been the recipient of the Scott LaVine CYM Scholarship and the American Harp Society Kids for Camp Scholarship.  He has also participated in numerous NYSSMA solo festivals ad was principal harpist in the New York State All-State program at the Eastman School of Music last year. 

Smith’s non-musical activities include reading and competitive chess.  He also serves as an Explorer in Charge at Explorer in Post 1789 of the United States Border Patrol Explorers in Burke, NY.  He is a proud resident of the North Country and is very grateful for the opportunities, musical and otherwise, afforded to him here.

Betrus, age 15, is a sophomore and a high honor roll student at Potsdam High School. A student of Nancy Kear for the past eight years, Katherine is a member of the high school orchestra and was concertmaster in the Junior High All County Orchestra in seventh and eighth grades. In her freshman and sophomore years, she was selected to perform in the area all-state orchestra. She has also participated in NYSSMA for the past six years.

Katherine has been a member of model U.N. and environmental club for two years. She also enjoys varsity volleyball, varsity indoor track and varsity outdoor track. She is the daughter of Anthony and Kristen Betrus.

ONNY's Young Artist Competition was established in 2007 for talented high school students in Northern New York. Its mission is to inspire young musicians to reach their highest level of artistry.

For more information about next year's competition to be held in February 2019, contact ONNY at 315-267-3251.