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compositeBy MYRON LOVE
The annual Winnipeg Music Festival in late February and March – which provides up and coming young talent with an opportunity to measure their musical abilities with the best in their age groups – produced repeat winners who are members of our Jewish community.



Josh BellanJosh Bellan is the oldest of the Jewish winners. The 21-year-old son of Murray Bellan and Robyn Zimberg won the Rainbow Stage Trophy this year – he was runner-up two years ago when he last entered the competition – as well as a Rainbow Stage Scholarship.
“It was fun,” he says of the Music Festival. “It’s cool hearing everyone giving it their best effort.”
Bellan sang “Melisande” from the broadway musical “110 in the Shade” and “Some People” from “The Fantasticks” at the festival this year.
Bellan has taken voice lessons over the years with Kelly Robinson and David Klassen. This was the sixth time that he has competed in the Winnipeg Music Festival
He says he was inspired to pursue a career in song by musicals he saw at Rainbow Stage and the Manitoba Theatre Centre. He attended Grant Park High School, which is well known for its performing arts program.
He is currently studying voice at the University of Manitoba School of Music. After graduation in 2019, he says that he plans to audition at performing arts schools outside of Winnipeg.
“I want to see what I can do,” he says.

Alyssa CohenLast year, Alyssa Cohen finished first in Classical Guitar Solo, Romantic Composers and 20/21st Century Composers, Grade 6 Levels. She was also runner-up for the Institute of Chartered Piano Tuners of Manitoba Trophy and won a Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society scholarship. The Grade 10 Garden City Collegiate student followed up this year by once again winning both of the competitions/classes that she entered (CLASS 4506 CLASSICAL GUITAR SOLO, 20TH/21ST CENTURY COMPOSERS, GRADE/LEVEL 8 and CLASS 4502 CLASSICAL GUITAR SOLO, BAROQUE COMPOSERS, GRADE/LEVEL 8) as well as earning another Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society scholarship. Her next stop is the upcoming provincial competitions in June.

Rhianna CohenAlyssa’s older sister, Rhianna, also had a successful outing at this year’s festival. The Seven Oaks School Division Met School Grade 12 student finished in a tie for second in CLASS 2356 PIANO SOLO, 20TH/21ST CENTURY COMPOSERS, GRADE/LEVEL 7. Rhianna is a multitalented young lady who plays piano, the sax, marimbas, the flute and some percussion.
The daughter of Robert and Sandy Cohen has been playing the guitar since she was six. She reports that she has won several gold medals over the years at the Winnipeg Music Festival in her categories. She has  performed numerous times at her school, has made appearances at the Planetarium, Eckhardt Grammate Hall at the University of Winnipeg and at Congregation Etz Chayim (for a Women’s League program).
“I felt really good about my performances in the festival this year,” she says. “It was really exciting.”
She adds that she wants to do more public performances – at coffee houses and other venues – over the next few months.

Sheva Elazar SchwartzSiblings Elisheva and Elazar Schwartz also enjoyed successful outings at this year’s festival. Elisheva, a University of Winnipeg Collegiate student and the older of the two, finished first in her class (3587 CELLO SOLO, 19TH/20TH/21ST CENTURY SONATA, GRADE/LEVEL 10) while Brock Corydon student Elazar, in his first competition, earned a gold ranking in his class -
Elazar and Elisheva are two of six children of Dr. Leonard and Anna Schwartz, all of whom, says their mother, Anna, play piano and at least one more musical instrument.



gregory hymanAt ten years of age, Gregory Hyman is also a Winnipeg Music Festival veteran. This year he won two Gold  medals– one for CLASS 4153 CLASSICAL GUITAR SOLO, CLASSICAL COMPOSERS, GRADE/LEVEL 1 for which he performed “Country Dance” by the composer Ferdinando Cerulli – and CLASS 3055 VIOLIN SOLO, OWN CHOICE, GRADE/LEVEL 2 wherein he performed Buckfever Rag by Canadian fiddler Reg Hill.
The son of Hartley and Rishona Hyman says that he was inspired to take up the violin by his zaida, George Slutchuk, who also played the violin. Gregory started playing violin in Grade 1.
“What I like about competing at the festival is that the judges talk to you and give you feedback,” he says. “And I like that you are competing against yoursel

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