Annual Young Artists Competition Named for Martha McCrory

The Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association invites the public to the Martha McCrory Young Artists Competition on Saturday, Dec. 21 at First Union Congregational Church. The competition begins at 11 a.m and is open to the public at no charge. Area high school competitors will perform instrumental or vocal repertoire to be judged by professional musicians. The winner(s) of this regional contest will receive a $300 cash prize from Encore Symphony Volunteer Council, and perform as a soloist with the Quincy Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 9 in the QJHS Morrison Theater.

For over 65 years, the purpose of the competition has been to give outstanding high school musicians the opportunity to perform as a concert soloist, accompanied by a symphony orchestra.  The annual Young Artists Concert rewards excellence in musicianship and enriches not just the performer, but also the audience and orchestra members.

In 2019 the competition was renamed in memory of Martha McCrory. A Quincy native, McCrory was an accomplished cellist and music faculty member throughout her life. She performed with the All-American Youth Orchestra, Rochester (NY) Philharmonic, the San Antonio Symphony, the Tulsa Philharmonic and the Chattanooga Symphony. In 1957 she helped create a summer music program at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. Today the Sewanee Summer Music Festival is one of the nation’s premier training grounds for young musicians.

In 1997, she founded the Martha McCrory Foundation to encourage the study of music among young students. A gift from that foundation will provide perpetual income to support the Young Artist Competition.

The competition is open to current 10th-12th graders who attend school within a 70 mile radius of Quincy.

Audience members should enter the building from the parking lot on the north side of the church, and will be given a brief introduction to the procedures and protocol of the competition.  The Young Artists Competition is partially supported by Encore! Volunteer Council, the estate of Martha McCrory, and by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.