Area piano students shine in June recital

In the front row, from left, are Ta’Nya Coleman, Emma Ames, Shachi Shyam, Riya Pandit and Barry Pugh. In the back row, from left, are Dasia Matthews, Jared Ruth, Larry Rivers, Kaylee Criswell, Ms. Pepper, Brandon Criswell, Ashlee Yancey, Jonathan Faulkner, Mark Criswell, Josefina Palmer and Sharav Shyam. Courtesy photo.

Benita Pepper of Lakeland, a private piano instructor, presented 15 students in a recital June 2 at Lane Music Recital Hall in Germantown. Students were awarded certificates for their participation.

Eight students received medals for successfully performing 10-piece memorized programs and skills tests at the National Piano Guild Auditions on May 29. They were Sharav Shyam, Shachi Shyam, Ashlee Yancey, Emma Ames, Mark Criswell, Brandon Criswell, Rose Guimera and Jonathan Faulkner.

Mark Criswell and Brandon Criswell were recognized for their Superior-Plus ratings in this year’s Guild auditions.

Rose Guimera (not present) received a Beethoven statuette and the Six-Year National Pin at her sixth audition, where she earned a Superior rating. She completed eighth grade at St. Francis of Assisi school and will enter St. Benedict at Auburndale high school this fall.

Mark Criswell received a trophy for creating his own piano arrangement of “Again” from “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” which he performed at the recital. He is a recent graduate of Bartlett High School and will attend Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro this fall with a music scholarship, where he plans to major in music education.

Other recital performers were Dasia Matthews, Larry Rivers, Josefina Palmer, Ta’Nya Coleman, Kaylee Criswell, Barry Pugh, Jared Ruth, Riya Pandit and the teacher, Mrs. Pepper.