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Feb. 4, 2014/For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu



High School Organ Festival and Competition sponsored by UNCSA, Salem College and American Guild of Organists  

WINSTON-SALEM – A high school junior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) won the third annual High School Organ Competition and Festival. Raymond Hawkins of Winston-Salem won both the $2,000 Thomas S. Kenan, III First Prize and the $350 John & Margaret Mueller Hymn Prize.

The competition and festival took place Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25 and 26 at Winston-Salem’s First Baptist Church, and on the campuses of UNCSA and Salem College, sponsored by UNCSA in conjunction with Salem College and the American Guild of Organists (AGO) Winston-Salem Chapter. 

Additional winners were Richie Gress, a junior from New Hampshire, who won the $1,000 Winston-Salem AGO Second Prize; and Chase Loomer, a senior from Huntersville, who won the $500 Third Prize.

Timothy Olsen, who teaches a joint studio of high school, undergraduate and graduate organ majors as the Kenan Professor of Organ at UNCSA and Associate Professor of Organ at Salem College, said this year’s competitors ranged from high school sophomores to seniors and hailed from Missouri, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as North Carolina.

Raymond Hawkins

The competition was open to all high school students.

“The level of talent was impressive,” Olsen said. “The competitors demonstrated excellent technique and musicality. It was apparent that all had worked very diligently.”

UNCSA Music Dean Wade Weast said the level of competition also illustrates the exceptional instruction provided by teachers like Olsen. “We are proud of the expertise that Dr. Olsen provides, both in performance and in teaching. Raymond Hawkins is a fine example of the success our students attain through hard work and the guidance of our excellent faculty,” Weast said.

The festival also included recitals, workshops, master classes and lessons for all competitors.


As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.