Courtney Smith, 14, an eighth-grade student at Stevens Middle School in Port Angeles, performs for the judges during Saturday’s Nico Snel Young Artist Competition at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. Courtney won first place in the junior division. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Courtney Smith, 14, an eighth-grade student at Stevens Middle School in Port Angeles, performs for the judges during Saturday’s Nico Snel Young Artist Competition at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. Courtney won first place in the junior division. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Young musicians win cash in Port Angeles Symphony competitions

Top competitors hail from Port Angeles, Port Townsend

PORT ANGELES — Upon hearing she’d won first prize, Charlotte Hertel’s reaction was:

“No way!”

Yet there was a way for her to top the 33rd annual Nico Snel Young Artist Competition on Saturday. She summed it up herself: “I worked really, really hard on my piece,” said Charlotte, 17.

Winning “was really cool,” she added. “It felt good to be recognized for it.”

The joy of making music helped. Charlotte’s violin teacher, Heather Ray, advised her to listen to many classical pieces before choosing one for the competition. Russian composer Dmitry Kabalevsky’s Concerto in C Major “made me smile,” she said, “and it has a pizzicato section, so it was the obvious choice.”

The Port Angeles High School senior won $500 cash, which will come in handy as she continues to study music. Charlotte has been accepted to a couple of universities and awaits word from three more. She has yet to select a major but is certain, though, that she wants to keep playing.

Saturday’s competition, hosted by the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, has two divisions: the senior, for musicians up to age 22, and the junior, for competitors age 14 and younger.

In the senior section, the $250 second prize was awarded to cellist Karson Nicpon, a Port Angeles High School junior, for his performance of Édouard Lalo’s concerto, while the $200 third prize went to Aliyah Yearian, a violinist who attends Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend, for her J.S. Bach Concerto in A Minor.

In the Junior Young Artist Competition, all three winners are violinists from Port Angeles’ Stevens Middle School. Courtney Smith took the top prize of $250 for her performance of “Summer” from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” Yau Fu won the $125 second prize with Severn’s “Polish Dance” and Flora Sullivan took the $75 third place award for her performance of Gabriel-Marie’s “La Cinquantaine.”

The competitions are named for their founder, the late Port Angeles Symphony conductor Nico Snel, and are open to young players of classical music in both Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Professional musicians from across the North Olympic Peninsula volunteer as the judges; this year they were Port Angeles Symphony music director and conductor Jonathan Pasternack, Port Townsend pianist Carol Rich and Port Angeles Symphony violist Tyrone Beatty.

“The competition is part contest, part master class, a format I like very much,” said Pasternack.

“The educational component of the event is an important aspect. Also, many if not all of the participants are going on to compete locally next weekend for a chance to attend the Washington State Solo and Ensemble Festival.”

Donors from the community and proceeds from the sale of the Port Angeles Symphony Guild’s cookbook, “A Little Kitchen Music,” provide for the cash awards every year.

For more information about the cookbook, the contests and the Port Angeles Symphony’s forthcoming concerts in Port Angeles and Sequim, see www.PortAngeles Symphony.org, email PASymphony @olypen.com or call 360-457-5579.

Charlotte Hertel, 17, won the senior division of the Nico Snel Young Artist Competition on Saturday. (Jonathan Pasternack)

Charlotte Hertel, 17, won the senior division of the Nico Snel Young Artist Competition on Saturday. (Jonathan Pasternack)

More in News

Able seamen Doug Reader, front, and Brandon Melville drive forklifts as they offload equipment from the ferry MV Coho after its return to Port Angeles from annual dry dock maintenance in Anacortes on Wednesday. The ferry is scheduled to resume regular service between Port Angeles and Victoria today. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Preparing for service

Able seamen Doug Reader, front, and Brandon Melville drive forklifts as they… Continue reading

Dr. Suzanne Ames.
Peninsula College adapting to next generation of students

Aim is to engage, meet workforce needs

Officials: Combine Simdars, Johnson Creek road projects

Clallam County, Sequim, tribe urge coordination

The Swiftsure, a whale-watching tour boat operated by Port Townsend-based Puget Sound Express, is the first vessel to take advantage of the early reopening of the Point Hudson Marina on Wednesday after four months of closure to rebuild its north jetty. The marina will close again after the Wooden Boat Festival ends Sept. 10, when rebuilding the south jetty will start with a scheduled re-opening in March 2024. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Point Hudson marina reopens

The Swiftsure, a whale-watching tour boat operated by Port Townsend-based Puget Sound… Continue reading

Amy Miller has been appointed to a seat on the Port Angeles City Council to fill a seat vacated by Mike French, who resigned to become a Clallam County commissioner. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Amy Miller tapped for Port Angeles City Council

Appointee fills seat vacated by Mike French

The MV Coho, pictured in dry dock at the Anacortes Ship Yards, will be back in service Thursday. Yearly maintenance began Jan. 3. The maintenance is taking a few days longer due to COVID-19 the past two years, Black Ball Ferry Line officials have said. The ship returns to twice-daily round trips across the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Victoria and Port Angeles at 8:20 a.m. Thursday. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
Coho maintenance

The MV Coho, pictured in dry dock at the Anacortes Ship Yards,… Continue reading

East Jefferson Fire Rescue town halls focus on lid lift

Ballot measure to go before voters on Feb. 14

Planning work priorities to be discussed

Jefferson County’s Board of County Commissioners and its Planning… Continue reading

Trimming an Italian plum, gleaners Scott Swantner, left, Seth Rolland and Tim Lawson devote their Sunday to trimming and pruning the Blue Heron orchard at Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend, to promote growth and health of the fruit trees, some of which were planted in 2010. The fruit goes to the school and is available to students. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Pruning fruit trees

Trimming an Italian plum, gleaners Scott Swantner, left, Seth Rolland and Tim… Continue reading

Most Read