Justin Smith, oboe, $3,000 Chattanooga Music Club Scholarship
Janelle Wigal, French horn, $2,500 Drs. Hilda & Andres Alisago Scholarship
Drew Craig, Tenor, $2,000 Opal Rhea Swaity Scholarship
Joey Shultz, piano, $1,500 Dorothy Cobb Martin Scholarship
Christine Lau, violin, $1,000 Fletcher Bright Strings Scholarship
Austin Ngo, piano, $1,000 Fry Merit Scholarship
Inspiring Story and Music of Mary Grace Gellakano
Set to play piano on April 25 and 26, Mary Grace Gellakano will impart a message of perseverance.
Native Filipino, Mary Grace Gellakano, 26, was born with a right forearm ending just below the elbow. But through persistence and dedicated practice, she learned to perform intricate compositions, using her left hand and partial right arm.
The abbreviated limb “plays melody while my left hand plays the rest of the chords,” said Gellakano, speaking by phone from her Louisiana home.
“Occasionally, my stump bleeds and playing hurts,” she said. But the painful strokes remind her, she said, “of what makes my music unique.”
She was six when her fledgling interest in music lead her grandmother to locate a piano teacher who would work with disabled students, according to Gellakano. She said there was talk of her fitting her with an artificial limb.
“But there were disadvantages,” she said. “With prosthesis, my stump might have shrunk, and I was afraid (of the risk).”
At 15, she had her first solo organ recital and followed suit on the piano the next year, she said. In 1996, she made her inaugural international tour with appearances in Guam, Thailand, and Europe. In 2001, she earned a psychology degree at the University of St. LaSalle in the Phillipines.
Now a missionary with Adopt-a-Minister International, Gellekano concedes that her congenital condition had impaired her ability to perform such manual tasks as cutting meat or opening envelopes. Her participation in activities such as roller skating is precluded with having a foot with only three toes on the right leg that's eight inches shorter than it's counterpart.
But such difficulties needn't deter success, according to Gellekano. She said, “It’s made me a stronger person. My outlook is positive.”
“God has created me this way for a purpose,” she said, “and I’m eager to make every minute of my life count for God.”
On the pianist's program are selections of “classical and religious music,” according to Rita Vital, a publicist for the concert.
“I have heard her and I have bought her recordings,” she said of Gellekano. “She plays beautifully, and her life story is truly inspiring."
Mary Grace can be heard on the following dates:
Friday, April 25, 6:30 p.m.
Bowman Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church
300 Westview Drive
Cleveland, TN (contact Matthew Shallenberger at 423-472-6231)
April 26, Saturday: 11 AM worship service
East Ridge SDA Church
2165 Dabney Drive
East Ridge, TN 37412
Contact phone: (423) 421-4133
April 26 Saturday: 7:30 PM
Chattanooga First SDA
7450 Standifer Gap Road
Chattanooga, Tn 37412
Contact phone: Vanessa Kepper, (423) 987-6643 Barbara Cochran: (423) 894-8391
April 27, 11:20 AM
Morning Pointe Assisted Living Collegedale Residents
Contact Phone: (423)505-6605 (Rita Vital)
Activities Director Phone: (423)396-6999 (Christy Pope)
ANNUAL ST. PATRICK'S PURSE FUNDRAISER
The Chattanooga Music Club presented its fourth annual St. Patrick's Purse fundraiser at Stratton Hall, 3146 S. Broad St., on Monday, March 17, at 6 p.m.
This annual fundraising event helps the CMC provide $12,000 in music scholarships for local high school seniors and the on-going restoration and maintenance of the Austin Pipe organ installed in the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium
This years fundraiser featured the local talents of the CSO Youth Orchestra and a Celtic group from Dalton, the Ceilidh Band, who performed the main set.
James Mahon from WDEF-Channel 12 acted as emcee.
A sit down dinner catered by Louella Landreth, assisted by Bruce Clark, as well as a silent auction of donated items from local merchants was also featured.