Grove City College Orchestra’s 24th annual Concerto/Aria Competition brought out the best in the College’s talented student body.

So many students from the Music program and other disciplines came forward for the annual competition, which culminates in a featured role for the winners in the College Orchestra’s Feb. 16 concert, that a rare run-off round had to be scheduled.

The Concerto/Aria Competition is a contest and a concert, with vocalists and musicians performing at the top of their game. There are winners at the end of the night, but no losers among the audience that hears from some of the College’s top musical talents.

“It brings incentive to be better, healthy competition and it provides a platform for our best students to shine,” Dr. Jeffrey Tedford, professor Music and director of orchestras, said. “People may be surprised at who wins from year to year, but they don’t disagree that that person is deserving.”

After hearing from 10 players and singers on Oct. 28, the judges selected the winners: Pianist Josiah Talampas and vocalist Rebekah Willson.

Talampas, a sophomore electrical engineering major with a concentration in computer engineering from Wooster, Ohio, played a dramatic rendition of Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 3.”

Talampas said he started playing at the age of 6 and taking lessons at 9. A member of the College Orchestra, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in biomedical engineering or neuroscience after graduating.

“I’m pretty excited about winning, but rather nervous about playing in February. I get more nervous than just about anybody right before performances,” he said.

Willson, a senior Music major from Beaver Falls, Pa., delivered a powerful version of Donizetti’s “Quel guardo il cavaliere.” Winning the competition, she said, has been a long time coming.

“I can’t quite explain how happy I am to win. Winning has been my goal since my freshman year,” Willson said.

Willson, who also plays cello in the College Orchestra, has been taking vocal lessons since she was a child. She said she was drawn to Grove City College by its music program and values. She plans to go on to graduate school for a master’s degree in performance in voice and hopes to work for an opera company and teach.

“I am so proud of every soloist and accompanist who participated. Each student performed at the highest level and showed extreme dedication to their craft and artistry. Every student was worthy of the top spots. I am very excited to have Rebekah and Josiah join us in performance for our annual concert featuring the Concerto/Aria winners,” Tedford said.

The competition was judged by Dr. Melinda Crawford Perttu and Dr. Nancy Zipay DeSalvo, both associate professors at Westminster College, and Dr. Misook Yun, professor at the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University.