On Sunday, June 5, Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School presented its annual Young Stars of Maine Prizewinners Concert at the Rockport Opera House. An enthusiastic audience filled the hall to see eight talented young students from Maine perform works from classical to jazz to contemporary and pop. Prizes of $1,000 each were awarded to five soloists and three members of a piano trio.

Hailing from Midcoast Maine were five local winners: Ami Wolovitz, violin; Lincoln Pierce, trumpet; and piano trio members Scarlet Labbe-Watson, violin, Sophia Howell, violin, and Ella Ryan, piano.

Ami Wolovitz

Winner of the Bixler Junior Prize, Ami Wolovitz has been playing violin since her seventh birthday. She studied with Sarah Glenn, Anna French and Carol Preston, and currently studies with Josie Davis through Bay Chamber Music School. Ami is now 12 and likes playing the violin because it’s fun to practice and satisfying to work toward a goal. In 2021, she was awarded first place in the Late Elementary Strings Division of the Biennial Pine Tree Competition. Over the years, Ami has enjoyed playing in many chamber music groups at the music school, has participated in music camps such as Envision Chamber Music Workshop, Kneisel Hall Program for Maine Students, and Fall String Festivals through Maine Suzuki Association, and has played with the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestra. She plays frequently with her pianist sister and has learned to love sight reading. A sixth grader at Ashwood Waldorf School, Ami also enjoys math, reading, hanging out with friends, playing with her pup, and occasionally playing around on the piano.

Lincoln Pierce

Music is one of the most important aspects in Lincoln Pierce’s life. Winner of the Nathan Corning Jazz Prize, Lincoln has picked up many different instruments over the course of his life. Being taught by a teacher or just learning them himself has always been of importance for him. Lincoln first started playing music when he was six years old on the piano, which taught him the basics of music and allowed him to branch out into other instruments. In fifth grade he started playing the trumpet and has been playing it ever since. He has studied with countless wonderful musicians including Shelly Burcallow, Mike Whitehead, Craig Ouellette, Nancy Rowe and Bill Whitener. Lincoln first started taking private lessons with Mike Whitehead in eighth grade at the Bay Chamber Music School and in the past year he has studied with the principal trumpet of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Bill Whitener. Lincoln plays in both the concert and jazz bands at the high school and helped found the CHILLS Brass Ensemble. Lincoln placed third chair in the Allstate orchestra in 2019 and was the second chair in the Allstate Jazz and Concert Band in 2021/22. A recent graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School, Lincoln said, “Music has taken over my life and has really turned into a passion which I hold close to my heart. I encourage everyone to at least give music a chance in life as it may have a drastic effect on your well-being. It has changed who I am and has shaped me into a better person. I may have never picked up any instrument if it wasn’t for the adults shaping my musical career in my life so those are the people, I am most thankful for.”

Ella Ryan

The Anan Berezuik and Lindley Wook Chamber Music Prize was awarded to Ella Ryan, a recent graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School. Music has been a huge part of her Ella’s life for 12 years. She has studied piano with Liz Manduca in Portland and Patricia Stowell and Matthew Mainster at Bay Chamber Music School. Along with her love for piano, she began taking violin lessons with Josie Davis more than two years ago, which has quickly become another music interest. She has participated in the Envision Summer Chamber Workshop since its beginning in 2016 and is currently a part of the SSE Piano Trio coached by Luke Fatora. Ella has been involved in chamber music year-round for many years and performed in a Master class for George Lopez. In the fall, she will attend Barnard College to study biology and play piano and violin.

Scarlet Labbe-Watson

Violinist and trio member Scarlet Labbe-Watson is a sophomore at Watershed School and has been playing violin since she was nine years old. She loves chamber music because it allows people to have conversations that are deeper than using words in many ways. For the past three years she has attended Envision Chamber Music Workshop and this year was also accepted to Kneisel Hall’s Program for Maine Students. She has been participating in chamber music over the school year through Bay Chamber and playing in their recitals. She enjoyed attending the Winter Chamber Music Workshop hosted by Bay Chamber and Pineland Suzuki Music School for both the years it has been run. She has played in masterclasses for Geoff Nuttall and George Lopez, among others. WRFR has asked her to play for their radio show as well. When she is not playing classical music, she also loves to sing and has written her own song about climate change and its impact on her. Her hope is to use music to motivate social change, and help audiences connect with their emotions.

Sofia Howell

The third member of the winning trio, Sofia Howell, a sophomore at Camden Hills Regional High School, is coming up on her twelfth year playing violin. Growing up learning by the Suzuki method, Sofia has developed a love for the self-expression aspect in classical music and is lucky to have had the opportunity to attend the Envision Chamber Music Camp in past years, as well as participate in a masterclass with George Lopez. Currently studying with longtime teacher Sophie Davis, Sofia has learned the importance of playing music for the joy of it and is inspired by the musicians around her. She hopes to continue her music studies in the as both a soloist and as a chamber musician.

For more information on Bay Chamber Music School programs, visit baychamber.org or call 207-236-2823.