Potter Violins Instrument Awards

Potter Violins in Takoma Park, Maryland, donates multiple stringed instruments annually to students in need. Violins, violas, or cellos  will be awarded each year. Application postmark deadline is October 25 each year.

Applications will be accepted on behalf of students (elementary through high school), from ASTA members who outline the particular worthiness and promise of a student. Applicants are recommended to be string students with 3 or more years of experience, unless they have switched from another instrument. Application deadline: October 25, 2017.


Congratulations Potter’s Violin Instrument Awards Winners!

ASTA is happy to highlight winners of new instruments, generously provided by Dalton Potter, owner of Potter’s Violins in Bethesda, Maryland, for the April 2015 round of the instrument awards for students in need. These two outstanding young musicians benefited from the recommendations of their ASTA member teachers.

Zahyrah D. Payton, age 14, viola, Norfolk, Virginia
Zahyrah Payton is a student at the Academy of International Studies at Rosemont, and has played viola since sixth grade. Zahyrah’s private teacher, ASTA member Joanna Binford, writes in her recommendation that Zahyrah is “that rare player, rare person, who loves to play, loves to practice and wants more, more, more!!” At her first private lesson, in March, 2014, Binford noted that Zahyrah’s school practice sheet said there were days when she practiced up to three hours! During her second lesson she was asked if she knew what vibrato was and if she knew how to apply it to her viola. She responded that she knew what it was, but wasn’t sure how to do it. Binford played a piece for her using vibrato and asked her to try it. “It was awe-inspiring,” she said. “She started vibrating on the first note and hasn’t stopped since! In my 30 years of teaching I have never seen a student start their vibrato with basically a finished product.” In June 2014, Zahyrah auditioned for the Bay Youth Orchestras and was accepted into the Strings Orchestra as their principal violist. She was also awarded co-principal in the Virginia Beach/Norfolk Junior District 2 8th grade orchestra, and was recently accepted into the Governor’s School for the Arts program in Norfolk, which she will attend starting this fall. Zahyrah’s passion for her instrument is amazing. She says, “Whenever I play my viola, I feel the music course through my veins like blood and fuel and rejuvenate my body, like food and water.” This instrument will be a huge help in Zahyrah’s goal to, “constantly strive to be the best that I possibly can when it comes to playing viola….” Congratulations Zahyrah! We’re excited to see where this new viola can take you!

Celine Wardrop, age 16, violin, Independence, Kentucky

In the summer of 2012, Celine Wardrop and her family moved across the country to Kentucky, and she found herself wanting to play the violin, but lacking the family resources for lessons. Then a friend from their local library told her about the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) String Project, and how they offered affordable music lessons through a children’s ensemble. A phone call put her in touch with Dr. Holly Attar, ASTA member, and director of the NKU Music Prep program. “In all my years of teaching, I have never met anyone as committed, diligent, and driven as Celine Wardrop,” says Attar in her recommendation. She goes on to say that, “While I adore my students, none of them show the desire and need as much as Celine. Her quick growth on the violin was evident in my very first lesson with her.” Celine continued playing with the String Project her first year, and then was advised to audition for the NKU Youth Symphony Orchestra, with less than a year of experience. Celine says, “Since making it to the orchestra I was ecstatic and very grateful for the people who had helped me. “ She adds, “Music is my greatest passion and I enjoy every minute of practicing, performing, and sharing that passion with others.” We can’t wait to hear where your studies take you, Celine, and congratulations on the hard work and commitment that resulted in you receiving this new violin!

Congratulations to these two exceptional winners, and thanks as always to Potter’s Violins for their generosity in supporting this program. Special thanks to Dan Levitov, Maryland ASTA, who again led the selection committee, assisted by fellow chapter members Paul Scimonelli, and Matt Horwitz-Lee. Please submit an original typed application and FOUR COPIES by the April or October deadline.