Three local students—Richard Dong of San Marino High School, and Michael Law and Jiaxuan ‘Patrick’ Huang of Southwestern Academy—competed in the annual Dan Stover Music Contest on Thursday, Mar. 2.

The Rotary Club of San Marino organized the contest, which took place during the club’s regular noon meeting at San Marino Community Church.

The event was co-chaired by Rotarians Paul Brassard and Sharon Park – a distinguished pianist – who also served as one of three contest judges.

Pianist Michelle Jo Santoso and opera singer Michele Patzakis—both accomplished in their respective fields—joined Park on the judges’ panel.

Before the students took the stage, Brassard reminded Rotarians of the contest’s namesake, Dan Stover.

“He was a very colorful character from the Alhambra [Rotary] Club. He was a barbershop quartet singer,” he said. “And he carried around a little piano in a trunk and went to all the [Rotary] clubs and encouraged them to sing.”

“We could use a Dan Stover today,” Brassard opined. “Our club, in many respects, is the top tier in the world. Singing, not so much,” he said, receiving laughs of acknowledgment from the group of 30 Rotarians present that day. “So it’s an area to improve.”

“The best thing, of course, is the opportunity to compete,” Brassard said of the opportunity presented to students as a result of the contest.

Flutist Jiaxuan ‘Patrick’ Huang performed Sonata E minor movement 1 by J.S. Bach. He received a prize of $50 for his third place finish.

San Marino High School’s Richard Dong finished in second place, receiving $100. He performed Imprompto No. 3 Op 90 by Schubert on the piano.

In first place, Pianist Michael Law of Southwestern Academy claimed a prize of $200 and a trip to a regional Rotary competition for his performance of Autumn by Cecile Chaminade.

Law will perform in a regional competition in April where he will have the opportunity to advance to the Rotary District 5300 contest. If he is among the final five musicians, he will have a chance at winning a $5,000 scholarship.

Judges Sharon Park, left, Michele Patzakis, center, and Michelle Jo Santoso, right, confer to determine the victor of Rotary’s 2017 Dan Stover Music Contest. The judges based their decision on three criteria: musical ability, sound and stage performance. Kev Kurdoghlian Photo