Scholarship recipients thankful for musical resource in Jacksonville

Friday Musicale a friend to music

By Nancy Lee Bethea
Resident Community News

Andrew Callahan, 2013 scholarship winner

Andrew Callahan, 2013 scholarship winner

Riverside’s Friday Musicale has been an ally to Northeast Florida musicians since 1890 when Claudia L’Engle Adams invited friends to her downtown Jacksonville home each Friday to study and enjoy music.

The Friday Musicale, located at 645 Oak Street, not only provides a place for musical performances, it also nourishes young talent through scholarships, classes and competitions. Several local musicians have received scholarships to further their musical studies.

Springfield resident Anthony Anurca, 31, auditioned for a scholarship in 1999, the year he graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. “There were no other bassoonists. I remember playing I believe it was the Vivaldi E-minor Concerto for my audition and then they had an interview with us,” Anurca recalled.

Anurca’s scholarship helped finance his undergraduate degree. “I believe it was $1500 a year, and they sent that to me for all four years,” he said. “It was so wonderful.”
Anurca majored in music at University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music; completed a three-year fellowship with the New World Symphony in Miami, and returned to live in Jacksonville in 2009. He now plays second bassoon and contrabassoon in the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Another local musician, Allison Watkins, 20, is a rising senior at Florida State University majoring in flute performance. The Ortega resident auditioned for a scholarship at the Musicale in 2010 during her senior year at Douglas Anderson.

“I was very excited the day of the audition,” Watkins said. “I remember feeling nervous, but I was confident in my preparation for the audition. I believe the judges saw something different in my performance that day,” she added.

Watkins won the Marian Armington Waterman Poitevent Instrumental Scholarship worth $16,000 over four years. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in flute performance once she finishes her undergraduate degree.

In April, the Musicale held annual scholarship auditions for high school seniors. Andrew Callahan, 17, won the Susan C. Mahla Instrumental Piano Scholarship. This scholarship provides the Douglas Anderson senior $2500 toward college expenses each year for four years. Callahan, a San Jose resident, plans to major in piano performance at the University of Michigan, attend graduate school and then work as a studio session musician or on Broadway.

A classically trained pianist, Callahan started lessons at the age of four. Even though he’s been playing for 13 years, he still feels butterflies at auditions. “Normally I get nervous when it comes to competitive auditions such as this one,” he shared. “One thing that put my mind at ease was that all four of the other competitors were friends of mine from DA. Knowing that one of us would be awarded the scholarship no matter what happened helped calm my nerves,” he added.

Allison Watkins, 2010 scholarship winner

Allison Watkins, 2010 scholarship winner

Callahan recently auditioned at FSU. When he walked on stage for his Musicale audition, he was shocked to see the same piano professor who had evaluated him in Tallahassee sitting on the judges’ panel. “I will admit this brought back some of the nerves from before, and I felt additional pressure to play at my absolute best,” Callahan said.
Though the venue and its musicians have changed through the years, the Friday Musicale continues to support fine music in Jacksonville.

“I am incredibly thankful for what the Friday Musicale has done for me,” Allison Watkins said. “I hope I can give back to this great community venue that promotes musicians through free concerts to the public and through their philanthropic efforts which enable young musicians to pursue their dreams,” she added.

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