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Youth Music Competition   

February 22nd, 2020, is the date for Harstine Island Community Choir’s annual Youth Music Competition for Mason County, entitled Music 2 Our Ears. This event takes place at the Harstine Island Grange Hall (3371 E Harstine Island Road N), from 6-8PM. An audience will enjoy the competition, open to all youth in Mason County, instrumental or vocal. Winners will be announced at the end of the competition.


Each spring, Harstine Island Community Choir hosts Music 2 Our Ears, a Youth Music Talent Competition, providing an opportunity for Mason County youth to compete in one of three levels: 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, and 9-12th grade. February 23th, 2019, is the fifth competition, providing wonderful learning and performance experiencse for students in our community.

This annual contest is open to all 3rd-12th grade vocal and instrumental students. The three winners, one from each level, receive a scholarship award and an invitation to perform a solo in a Harstine Island Community Choir concert the year of the contest.

Download applications for 2019:

Click to download the forms

  Youth Music Application
  Letter to Parents
  Letter to Teachers
Invitation Poster

Send the forms attached to an e-mail to: Jean Iverson (Wiverson@comcast.net)

Special Rules

1.    A student can win only ONCE in any level. Once they win in a level, they must wait until they are in the next level to compete again.

2.    A student may not compete the year immediately following their win, even if they switch levels. For example, a student winning in the last year of middle school eligibility may not compete in the high school level the following year.

Judges Panel selected from:

Kelsey Barnes attended Western Washington University where she studied Piano Performance and Music Education. She studied piano under Dr. Milica Jelača Jovanović and Jeffrey Gilliam. She also studied conducting with Dr. Christopher Bianco and Dr. Leslie Guelker Cone. Kelsey has performed with many instrumentalists, vocalists, bands, choirs, and orchestras in a variety of settings. She was a very active collaborative pianist during her time in Bellingham and also accompanied a local church choir. Kelsey grew up in Silverdale, WA and studied piano with Dr. Irene Bowling. She recently moved to Shelton and is a music teacher in the Shelton School District.

Brenda Baunsgard is a graduate of Seattle University where she studied voice and theater, performing lead roles in Song of Norway, Carousel, and a variety of other musical programs. She attended Cornish School of Allied Arts where she studied repertoire with Vocal Coaches Phyllis Petersen, Mel Strauss, and Marni Nixon. She was a guest artist at UCLA’s Opera Workshop program directed by Dr. Jon Popper. She has sung lead in “The Cadi Outwitted” by Gluck,  Violetta in Verdi’s  “La Traviata,” Nedda in Leoncavallo’s” Pagliacci “ and Rosalinda in “Die Fledermaus.” She has performed with the San Carlo Opera Company of Los Angeles and was in the Seattle Opera Resident chorus for more than six years. She has performed for Seattle Opera previews under General Maager Glenn Ross. After retirement from the television/movie industry in Los Angeles, Ms. Baunsgard returned to her native home of Washington where she was seen as the Mother Abbess in the Harstine Island production of “Sound of Music”, under the direction of Gene Nelson, and where she now finds great joy singing with the Harstine Island Community Choir under the direction of Elizabeth Berndt.

Elizabeth Berndt studied choral conducting under Ron Jeffers at Oregon State University. She also attended The Conservatory of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart, Germany studying voice, piano and conducting. She holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Music and Music Education, with emphasis in Choral Conducting, and a Master’s Degree in Education. She taught high school music for ten years, served as accompanist for the German American Choir and as rehearsal director for a 100 member symphonic choir. In the recent past she was artistic director and conductor of The Capstans men’s chorus, was a board member of and performed with Olympia’s Masterworks Choral Ensemble, was a guest conductor at Pioneer Middle School, and past director of the Rose Garden Singers, a women’s chorus performing in the Olympia region. Along with conducting Harstine Island Community Choir, she is artistic director and conductor for Women of Note, a women's ensemble of South Puget Sound.

Laura Farr has been playing classical violin since the age of 9.  She grew up in the Seattle School District and played in the school orchestra from 5th grade through high school, All-City Orchestra from 6th grade through 12th, and All-Northwest Orchestra in her senior year.  She has also been playing old-time fiddle music since 1980, and is currently the Workshop Chair for the Washington Old Time Fiddlers’ Association, which puts on a week-long workshop every summer teaching fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and banjo.  In addition, Laura is a handbell ringer and has directed several handbell choirs throughout the years.  She teaches private lessons at her home and plays for many different events, such as weddings, memorial services, and school events.

Skylar Carroll is a transplanted musician from Seattle having moved to Hoodsport in 2005 to work for Shelton Schools.  Skylar spent most of his undergraduate musical training studying the cello at University of Puget Sound and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As a vocalist Skylar has performed various musical genres including improvisational jazz, musical theater, early music and chant, but his niche for the past 30 years has been church music ministry. In Seattle, Skylar served as Minister of Music in a variety of church communities and has also served as liturgical cantor in many diverse faith traditions.  Skylar performed for several years with "Peregrine", a vocal chant ensemble, Artists-in-Residence at St. Mark's Cathedral.  Skylar has also performed more than 100 projects with "The Esoterics". Skylar is certified as a Cross-Cultural Music and Healing Practitioner, trained at The Open Ear Center by Pat Moffitt-Cook.  Skylar obtained his Master of Education from the University of Washington. He also serves as lead cantor and music director at St. Edward's Catholic Church in Shelton.

Mick McCartney is an experienced entertainer who debuted in 1966 at the age of seventeen on a local Tacoma channel 13 television talent show “Stairway to Stardom.” He won first place playing a song he had written called I’m Free.  He moved to San Francisco the next year and performed at many different venues in the Bay area including the “Purple Onion”, Walt Brown’s “Coffee and Confusion”,  the “Strait Theatre”, and the “Lion’s Share” in Sausalito with ex Kingston Trio member John Stewart. Mick enlisted in the Air Force and after he was honorably discharged he moved to Monterey.  He performed at the Jimi Hendrix memorial concert at the Monterey Fairgrounds with Buddy Miles, Santana and a host of others. He came back to the northwest and made his home in Bremerton. He wrote and performed commercials for The Kitsap Fair, Keg Restaurants in Canada, Morrison’s Menswear stores in Canada, Norm’s Radio and TV in Puyallup and other businesses for KRPM Radio. He took music classes at Olympic College and Tacoma Community College while supporting himself and his family with performing, writing and doing studio production with David Lange. He produced an album for Steve Jordan and two of the songs were featured on the KEZX album project. He has performed with Big Mama Thornton, Slim Gaillard, harmonica George Smith, Charles Gray (the last of the “Ink Spots”), Jeff Tassin, Artis the Spoonman, and the comedian Gallagher.

Mick worked as a Corrections counselor for Washington State DOC and is now retired with a private practice as a hypnotherapist in Shelton, Washington. Since retiring, Mick and his talented wife Laura have played many local venues, including Alderbrook Resort in Union, WA. Mick and Laura recorded an album which received critical acclaim in the Victory Music Review and was featured locally on KMAS Radio. They perform together as “Rhythm and Sass” and host the successful open mic every two weeks at the Fresh Start Deli at Spencer Lake, near Shelton Washington. Mick is also the announcer for the Pumpkin Catapult event at Hunter Farms representing KRXY radio every October. Last but most certainly not least, he is the sound man for Mason County’s Harstine Island Community Choir.

Janna Wood studied piano at Western Washington University as part of a music education major. After college, she continued her musical studies taking pipe organ lessons from Jim Holloway of Pacific Lutheran University and Jane Edge of Olympia. Most recently, Janna studied piano with Robert Jorgenson of Olympia, concentrating on accompanying and teaching.  Janna has accompanied vocalists and instrumentalists for a variety of community, church, and private events. She was a church organist for eighteen years and a choir accompanist for twenty eight years, during which time she also accompanied Mason County’s Harstine Island Community Choir. She has taught private piano lessons for seven years.

Stan Yantis is a graduate of the University of Washington, earning 

his bachelor's degrees in music and music education. He has been a music teacher for 39 years, 35 of those in Mason County. In Belfair, Stan started Hawkins Middle School's first marching band in 1984, and has since added orchestra, choir, guitar, piano, and percussion programs, in addition to his elementary and middle school bands. 

Stan serves in several volunteer roles at music and arts organizations. He founded and leads two volunteer community bands that perform for free throughout western Washington at community events and fund raisers. The Backwoods Windjammers celebrates its 31st year performing concert band music, and Swing Fever has been providing swing, jazz, and big band music for 25 years. Stan is also active at the University of Washington, serving as president of the University's Husky Marching Band Alumni Association. Under his leadership, the Alumni Association has raised over three quarters of a million dollars, which supports programs and scholarship awards for members of the Husky Marching Band. As a member of the Shelton Arts Commission, Stan serves on the art selection panel for Shelton City Hall and raises money with the "Empty Bowls" program to benefit the local food bank, Saint's Pantry.  

Recent honors and awards include being named Grand Marshal for the Belfair Christmas parade in 2017; the University of Washington's Terry Stombaugh Logo "W" Award for dedication to music education in 2016; being inducted as an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi , the national

fraternity dedicated to supporting college band members;

and being selected as the North Mason Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year in 2004 for his philanthropic work in the community.


After 25 years free-lancing in the New York City metropolitan area, pianist April Kuhr recently returned to her hometown of Shelton, Washington. Active as a soloist, chamber musician and vocal coach, Ms. Kuhr has performed in Austria, Germany and Italy, and throughout the continental United States, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall with baritone, Duncan Hartman. April has been a church organist since the age of 13.  She notably served as the organist and choirmaster for the Catholic Chapel at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where her duties included training and touring with a choir of West Point Cadets.

Ms. Kuhr served on the faculties of Kean University and Montclair State University, as well as on the faculties of Hamilton College, Muskingum College, Stephens College and the State University of New York. She received undergraduate degrees in piano performance and accompanying from Pacific Lutheran University and a masters degree in piano performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music. Additionally, as a Rotary International Graduate Fellow, she studied at the Konservatorium der Stadt, Wien in Vienna, Austria.

April is the Director of Music at the United Churches of Olympia, and an adjunct professor of Music at South Puget Sound Community College.


2019 Competition Winners, Mason County:



Sophia Loberfeld 2019 winner

Your Name 2020?

. Solo at choir concert December, 2020



Middle School

Tillie Maier 2019 winner

Your Name 2020?

 Solo at choir concert December, 2020



High School

Sian Riff-Roberts 2019 winner

Your Name 2020?

 Solo at choir concert May, 2020



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