Community School of the Arts Hosts Honors Recital

Six talented young musicians will perform at the annual Community School of the Arts Honors Recital at Northern Illinois University on February 16 at 1:30 p.m. They are the recipients of a talent scholarship awarded by the NIU Community School of the Arts after a rigorous audition held in early January. The students each receive a prize of $250.00. 

A total of 102 students have been awarded talent scholarships by the community school since they were established in 1996. 

Ranging in age from 12 to 16, this year’s winners are from DeKalb, Glen Ellyn, and Rockford, and will perform works by Gretry, Joplin, Corelli, Bruch, Debussy, and Kreisler. 

The recipients all are students in the NIU Community School of the Arts, where they receive private lessons from Ann Montzka-Smelser, Jaina Krueger, and Jui-Ching Wang.

William Jiang, 14 years old, is an eighth grade student at Marshall Academy in Rockford.  He is the son of Yiwei Jiang and Sumei Zhoi.  He is a violin student and will perform Praeludium and Allegro by Fritz Kreisler. 

Christine Ryzhov is a 12-year old student at Clinton Rosette Middle School in DeKalb, where she is in the sixth grade. She is the daughter of Victor Ryzhov and Natalia Vinokur. She studies violin and will play Tambourine by A. Gretry.

Alyssa Leston is the daughter of Stephen and Heather Leston. She is a seventh grade homeschooled student and lives in DeKalb. Alyssa is a violinist and will perform La Folia by A. Corelli.

Chance Hostetler, 16, is a homeschooled student in the tenth grade. He is the son of Chris and Anna Hostetler and lives in DeKalb. Chance studies piano and will play Bethena by Scott Joplin.

Allison Kozinski is 16 years old and is the daughter of Ted and Melanie Kozinski of DeKalb. She is a homeschooled student and is in her junior year. She studies piano and will perform Prelude for Piano by Claude Debussy.

Leo Thomas O’Malley is 15 years old and is performing on violin the first movement of the Concerto in g minor by Max Bruch. Leo is the son of Christopher and LeMarie O’Malley and is a homeschooled student in the ninth grade.

The recital is free and open to the public and will be held in the Recital Hall of the Music Building on the campus of Northern Illinois University. 

The money for the awards comes from the community school’s scholarship fund. In addition to the talent scholarships, the program also awards need scholarships. Since 1993, more than 700 scholarships have been awarded to area students to pursue the arts. 

The NIU Community School of the Arts offers lessons, classes, and ensembles in music, art, and theatre.  More information is available at or by calling (815) 753-1450.

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