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FHSU Concerto/Aria Contest Winners to Perform With the Hays Symphony

Updated: Apr 12, 2023


The Hays Symphony will be presenting its Masterworks II Concert on February 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. The ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Brian Buckstead, Assistant Professor of Violin and Viola at FHSU.

Join us for a special night to celebrate the talented music students of FHSU. Masterworks II honors the winners of the Concerto/Aria Competition, an auditioned event held last December. Since the start of the Fall 2022 semester, these students have poured hours of practice into preparing their pieces. Now, the winners’ efforts will be shared for all the Hays community to listen to.

The four soloists are Ashley Vilaysing (clarinet), Brandon Smith (piano), Kathryn Walters (vocal) and Luis Valencia Zamora (vocal).

Ashley Vilaysing is a sophomore at FHSU pursuing a major in Music Education and a minor in Psychology. She is involved in many ensembles at FHSU with her primary focus being the clarinet. Vilaysing will perform Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet, Op. 26.

Brandon Smith is a piano performance major at FHSU. He has involved himself with music and playing piano for nearly 14 years. Smith will perform the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459.

Kathryn Walters, mezzo-soprano, is a Music Performance major in her fifth year at FHSU. She is a two-time finalist of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) West Central Regional Competition. Walters will perform “Ah! mon fils!” from Le Prophète by Giacomo Meyerbeer and “Di tanti palpiti” from Tancredi by Gioachino Rossini.

Luis Valencia Zamora, tenor, is in his fifth year at FHSU. He placed first at the NATS West Central Regional competition and has also been a finalist at NATS for four years. Currently, he is the concert choir president at FHSU. He will perform “Guerrier che d’un acciaro” from Mozart’s Lucio Silla.

Each of the musicians express their honor and excitement to participate in this concert with fellow musicians in the department.

Earlier in the season, Hays Symphony director Dr. Brian Buckstead shared his sentiment on the concert. “It’s a very special experience to perform a solo with a symphony, not only for the performer, but for the audience as well. That individual voice, supported by the orchestra, gives us as listeners something to grasp on and relate to,” said Buckstead.

Like with all Hays Symphony concerts, attendance is free and open to the public. Following the concert, attendees are invited to the hall’s lobby to meet the musicians at the post-concert reception sponsored by Insurance Planning.

Attendees are encouraged to reserve tickets in advance on the symphony’s website at where they can also make donations to sustain free classical music in the Hays community.

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