Arts4All Florida is proud to announce our annual statewide program featuring the talent of Florida’s young musicians. Prior to the application process for the VSA International Young Soloist Program each year Arts4All Florida facilitates an adjudicated statewide program to recognize the talent of our young musicians. Finalists selected by a panel of judges are given a chance to perform at a professional venue to be determined each year. These finalists, as well as all other applicants, will represent Florida by having their musical entries sent to Washington, DC to compete in the VSA International Young Soloist Program.
Below are the 2018-2019 Florida Young Soloist winners!
Sarah Hardwig had her first solo at her kindergarten graduation. Her music teacher identified her with perfect pitch and told her parents she had a future in music. Sarah attends Naples High School as a sophomore and sings with her school and church choirs. She has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic Youth Choir for seven years and has been taking acoustic guitar lessons with a former Nashville songwriter for four. She has performed the national anthem well over 100 times including the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Orioles games. Sarah annually travels to Nashville for the Country Music Association Festival and through dedicated networking has met top songwriters and music artists in that arena. She is a member of BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) for publishing as well as the Nashville Songwriter Association International. Sarah participates in the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival in Fort Myers and has recently begun performing her original songs. Sarah, who is blind, is known throughout southwest Florida for her talent, and her positive message remains inspirational to many.
Joseph Etienne was born with Level IV autism and by the age of six he was markedly behind his peers verbally and academically. Joseph’s family noticed that music had a soothing effect on him; calming him as he listened attentively. After a live concert, later that same evening, he would hum or sing the music exactly as it was played. As a result, his family gave him a saxophone when he was eleven years old and he began his music career. In four short years Joseph has blossomed into a notable musician. Joseph strives to be a great musician and is dedicated to his craft. Joseph regularly participates in school and church performances and local events such as graduations, scholarship award ceremonies, and wedding receptions. He currently takes music classes at Autry Music Institute and plans to pursue a degree in music with the hopes of teaching and instilling the same passion he has for excellence in music in others. Today, Joseph is not only an accomplished musician, but is performing at college-level academics in school. Music has indeed transformed his life.