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Young musicians compete in Bland contest

The South Boston Lions Club hosted its ninth annual James A. Bland Memorial Musical Scholarship Competition at The Prizery on Friday night.  

The event was well attended by members of various Lions Clubs in the region, parents of competitors and many people from the community who came out to support the very talented local young musicians.   

The contest is named after James A. Bland, a 19th century African-American musician who composed the Commonwealth of Virginia state song emeritus “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny.”   

This year’s contest featured 11 local musicians ranging in age from 7 to 16 years old.  

This year’s winner was Lauren Elizabeth Arnold who performed “Praeludium and Allegro” by Fritz Kreitsler on the viola.  Dr. Tim Duncan accompanied Arnold on the piano.  

The runner-up was Samuel Scot Westbrooks who performed “Minuet in G Major” by Johann Sebastian Bach on the piano.  

The South Boston Lions Club awarded Arnold a check for $300, and Westbrooks was awarded $100.  

Arnold will move up to the district competition, and if she wins there, she will compete at the state level.  The state competition will be held at the Lions Club State Convention in Tysons Corner in May.  State winners win a $2,500 scholarship. First and second runners-up receive $2,000 and $1,500 scholarships, respectively. Fourth, fifth and sixth place receive $1,000 cash.

The South Boston Lions Club expressed appreciation to the four judges including Elvira Green, Sally Sizemore Muller, Derison Duarte and Dr. Ronald Karnatz.  

Lions Club members also thanked Christopher Jones, artistic director of The Prizery, Ernelle Bellamy, technical director at The Prizery, Betty Woods of The Prizery as well as the contestants, the parents and the members of the South Boston Lions Club for making this event another great success.