The Abilene Philharmonic’s Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition was established in 2008 to help support outstanding young musicians in the Abilene area. The competition is open to woodwind, brass, percussion, string, and piano students between the ages of 12-18 that live in Texas School Regions 7, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and have not yet graduated high school.
Nelda and Eddie Hodges were generous donors, active volunteers, and innovative leaders of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Foundation, and Guild for almost sixty years. Eddie Hodges honored his wife with the establishment of the Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition Endowment to inspire and reward young people’s love for music.
Sarah Ellyce Chen just finished her 7th grade year at Talkington School for Young Women Leaders in Lubbock, TX. She has been studying under the tutelage of Ya-Li Chung Pekowski since she was 5 ½ years old. She is a four time All-State winner of the Texas Federation of Music Clubs State Festival and Competition. She is a five-time 1st place winner of the Lubbock Music Teachers Association’s Sonatina and Sonata Contest. She is a 1st place winner in the 2019 Junior Division of the Wayland Baptist University Piano Competition. She has won several competitions with the Great Composers Competitions, including 1st place in the 2018 Rising Talents of Americas, 2nd place in the 2019 Music of Northern Europe, and 3rd place in the 2019 Best of Chopin. Sarah has also been playing the violin for 5 years, is going on her 4th year as a member of the Youth Orchestras of Lubbock, and was the concert-mistress of the Philharmonic Orchestra.
Cole Patterson recently completed his junior year at Abilene High School and is a member of the Honor Band, Steel Drum Band, Jazz Band, and Marching Band. He has played saxophone for six years and has also studied piano with Sherry Frush for nine years, earning Superior ratings at adjudicated events. Cole has received a First Division rating at the State Solo and Ensemble contest for a saxophone ensembles and solos, was a member of the All-Region Freshmen Band, and was selected for All-Region Jazz Band his sophomore year of high school. Additionally, Cole plays tenor saxophone in the Celebration Orchestra at First Baptist Church.
Ricardo Hinojosa just completed his junior year of high school studying under Patrick Stevenson (Cooper High School) and Dr. Johnny Mendoza (McMurry University). He has studied percussion for 5 years, and has had the honor to perform with many great ensembles such as AYO, 5A All-State Band, Area 6 Region Jazz Band, Area 14 Freshman Region Band, Genesis Drum and Bugle Corps, as well as the top bands at both United and Cooper High School.
17 year old cellist Jared Ripple has been pursuing cello studies since he was 10, and has studied with teachers such as Dr. Nemias Santos, Molly Amlung, Nikola Ruzevic, and Dr. Kralik throughout his highschool career. Ripple is the principal cellist of the Abilene Youth Orchestra, and has also been principal cellist of the Cooper High School Orchestra since his sophomore year. He has earned numerous superior ratings at UIL solo and ensemble, and has been a part of a variety of acclaimed ensembles such as the All-Region Symphony Orchestra (three times), North Texas Summer Strings Institute, Strings Unlimited, and the renowned Revolution Strings. He plans on continuing his studies with Eugene Osadchy at UNT college of music, and majoring in cello performance.
These four finalists will compete Saturday, June 27th, 2020 at 2:00pm. There will be a live stream of the performance on the Abilene Philharmonic facebook page. If you have any questions, please contact us through our facebook page.