The Antonia and Amy show
Talented pianist, vocalist win rose bowls at Carbonear music festival
Two soft-spoken and gifted female musicians who astounded audiences and adjudicators with their talent at the 43rd Kiwanis Club of Carbonear regional music festival each came away with coveted rose bowls last week.
Pianist Antonia Whelan of Harbour Grace was awarded the senior rose bowl during the third and final grand concert on Thursday night at the Conception Bay North Regional Community Centre.
Two nights earlier, on March 19, vocalist Amy Gillingham of Carbonear was presented with the junior rose bowl, edging pianist Danielle Taylor of Victoria.
The presentations were two of the many highlights from an impressive and highly successful music extravaganza, which attracted some 2,200 participants from throughout the region, beginning March 9.
In all, some $8,500 in prize money was handed out to dozens of award winners (see Page B1 for complete list), demonstrating the solid financial backing of the area’s business community.
Meanwhile, two other rose bowls were awarded during the second grand concert on Wednesday, March 20.
In the choral category, the rose bowl went to the 100member Crescent Collegiate Concert Choir, while Carbonear Collegiate was runner-up.
The instrumental rose bowl was awarded to the Carbonear Collegiate Jazz Band, while the runner-up was the Ascension Collegiate Concert Band.
Third rose bowl
The win by Antonia is the latest in an impressive list of accomplishments for the 16-year-old Level II student at Carbonear Collegiate.
She also claimed junior rose bowls in 2010 and 2012.
But the piano virtuoso said this latest one — the senior rose bowl, the most coveted prize available at the festival — is the most special.
“It feels really good,” Antonia, the daughter of Eddie Whelan and Marliese Whelan, stated following the presentation.
Antonia turns 17 on March 28, and happily accepted what could be considered an early birthday present.
Kristian Butt, 18, of Carbonear, who performed in the vocal category, was runner-up for the senior bowl. She is the daughter of Frank and Karen Butt.
Eddie Whelan said his daughter has come a long way from the time when she cried on stage as a shy seven-year-old.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and effort. She’s been playing since she was three,” Eddie said.
Once painfully shy, Antonia now has the ability to wow an audience when she comes alive at the piano.
She travels to St. John’s every Sunday for lessons with her teacher, Tim Steeves, and practices at least one hour daily.
She performed an opus by Sergei Rachmaninoff, a roughly fourminute piece she had been preparing since October, and played from memory. “I really like his style,” she said. Antonia’s mother described her daughter as a “super-talented musician,” who is also actively involved in the school band, school choirs and the school drama club. She has also played other instruments over the years, including saxophone, trombone, guitar and violin.
She’s also involved in the Memorial University youth chamber music program, and plans to pursue a music degree after high school.
Amy Gillingham, meanwhile, is the 15-year-old daughter of Irene and Robert Gillingham, and is a Level I student at Carbonear Collegiate.
Having a coveted rose bowl in the Gillingham household is not unique. Amy’s older sister, Alicia, won a junior rose bowl in 2008, and a senior rose bowl in 2010. Alicia is now studying music at Memorial University.
Amy has been singing for seven years, and is mentored by Calvin Powell. She was runner-up for the junior rose bowl in 2012.
This year’s junior rose bowl runner-up was Danielle Taylor (piano) of Victoria, a 13-year-old Grade 8 student at Persalvic Elementary. Danielle is the daughter of Bill and Elizabeth Taylor.