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Saint John Times Globe Feature
The Saint John Times Globe is the newspaper that eventually became the Telegraph Journal. The Times Globe served Saint John, New Brunswick.
May 5, 1997
Being the Junior Star of the New Brunswick Festival of Music
Festival stars are dazzling
By: Times Globe Staff

A number of dazzling performances at the Founders' Night Concert - including one by a brilliant 18 year old violinist - capped the 61st annual New Brunswick Competitive Festival of Music on Saturday.

Stepan Arman captivated the audience at Saint John High School with his performance of Claude Debussy's Sonata Movements 2 and 3. The Kennebecasis Valley High School student was named Star of the Festival and accepted the Founders' Trophy, a $1,500 prize from NBTel and a number of smaller prizes.

The concert featured many other outstanding performances, included an appearance by Emmanuel Elmajian of Rothesay, who was named Junior Starof the Festival. The 12 year old pianist was impressive as he delivered a rendition of Diabelli's Sonatina in G, Movement No. 3. He received a $250 cash award.

During the week, thousands of musicians took part in performances, tests and competitions. On May 22, the Saint John Times Globe will be publishing a special suppliment on this year's music festival.

Pianist is Top Junior

Friday night the Saint John High School auditorium was invaded by tiny angels whose unbelievable musical talents left an audience of their family and friends stuck in perma-grin.

The Junior finale to the 61st annual New Brunswick Competitive Festival of Music was an awesome display of talent by musicians from age 6 to 14.

Choosing a winner or a "Junior Star" was a daunting task, but judges did choose one of the best, 12 year old pianist Emmanuel Elmajian, of Rothesay, who dazzled the audience with a flawless rendition of Diabelli's Sonatina in G, Movement No. 3.

Emmanuel knew he'd done well at the end of his performance when, with flushed cheeks, he gave a deep bow and grinned his way back to his seat.

"I feel very excellent," the black bow-tied virtuoso said after the victory. He said he plans to spend his $250 in award money on piano books, probably Chopin, his favourite composer.

The other big winner was diminutive nine year old violinist Geoffrey McCausland, of Saint John, who took hom ethe Jessie Ward Barker Memorial Trophy.

Geoffry played the dramatic piece, Serabande, with such passion, fervour and emotion that it was impossible to believe that the saddest thing in this performer's life probably is that recess is only 15 minutes long.

And despite a slight stumble towards teh end of the piece (it was one of the longest played all night), it was clear that this performance was special.

"I'm very very very happy," said Geoffry.

When asked where the passion in his playing comes from, his childish blue eyes become thoughtful and mature, "Well, really it's in the music, but the virtuoso does a lot too," he said.

Both Emmanuel and Geoffry had to share the spotlight, to some extent with their six year old siblings.

Emmanuel's little sister, Natalia Elmajian, was the first performer of the night.

Sitting on a piano bench in a black velvet dress and black patent shoes that dangled three inches above the floor, Natalia set the stage for the evening with a charming piano performance of Schubert's Rocking Horse Rag.

And she's only been taking formal lessons for a few months.

Geoffry's six year old brother, Owen McCausland, followed Natalia with a serious and impressive presentation of Minuet.

The evening also featured a number of stirring vocal performances. Among them, Sarah Butler's haunting "The Little Birch Tree", Laura Higgs' "All Creatures of Our God and King", Jason Guerrette's "Abdul the Magician", and Mireille Asselin's "Nina".