Emily Campagna, 16, and Carlie Berry, 17, were young when they first learned to play a musical instrument.
Berry was 6 years old when she first was introduced to the piano, and Campagna was 5 when the violin caught her attention. Neither one ever lost their passion for music.
That devotion earned the young women top honors at this year's Young Artists Competition. As the overall winners, they will perform with the Mid-Columbia Symphony at its March 10 concert at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
Campagna, a Hermiston junior who is home schooled, was born to play music.
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"My mom tells me I was trying to play any instrument I saw (as a toddler), so she started looking for a small instrument I could play," she said. "I took to (the violin) immediately, and she never needed to tell me to practice."
She dreamed of playing with a symphony one day, and though she usually feels jittery before any performance, she is not allowing that trepidation this time.
"I wouldn't say I'm terribly nervous (to perform with the symphony), I'm more thrilled to have the opportunity," she said. "It's something I've always wanted to do, so I try not to let myself dwell on worries or nervousness in performing."
For Berry, the piano always will be a part of her life.
"My parents knew that music was an important part of education," she said. "The piano is an easy instrument to learn, and it's a great starting ground for other instruments and understanding music in general. I loved it from the start."
The theme for the spring concert is "Inspired by Light" and features the music of composers Michael Torke and Jean Sibelius.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org