AMU student Mary Joy Silmaro named finalist in national classical organ competition


Ave Maria University sophomore and music major, Mary Joy Silmaro, is one of three finalists in the Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition. Ms. Silmaro was selected by an international jury of high-profile performers: Dr. Frederick Swann, Dr. Christoph Bull, and Mr. Felix Hell. In May, Mary Joy will travel to Phoenix to compete for the grand prize.

About the Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition
The Rodgers Instruments Corporation is pleased to announce that the Rodgers North American Classical Organ Competition has been revamped and will have a new focus on young performers in 2015.

When the competition began in 2011, it was open to organists up to the age of 35. Now, with the spectacular performances that the judges have seen from younger musicians during the past several years, it will become an event exclusively for 14-to-22-year-olds.

Equally exciting is the change to a new venue for the competition. Finalists will perform in the Music Theater of the stunning Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. MIM is dedicated to offering a shared experience of the history of musical instruments throughout the world to visitors who tour its 200,000 square feet of exhibit space displaying instruments from 200 countries and regions.

Rodgers also announced the first place award in the competition will be named in honor of Frederick Swann. “Mr. Swann stands as an incredible example of lifelong dedication to excellence in artistry as well as organist education through his work with the AGO,” said Rodgers President Duane Kuhn. “It’s appropriate to recognize his vision and leadership by presenting the highest award in this competition in his honor.”

Cash awards for competition winners are $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second and $1,500 for third. Winners of past competitions have gone on to appear as recitalists playing for audiences around the country.

About Mary Joy Silmaro
Mary Joy Silmaro is a Sophomore at Ave Maria University where she studies organ under Dr. Brice Gerlach. Mary Joy began her music training at age 5 with piano lessons from her homeschooling mother. She embarked on formal piano studies at age 7, violin at age 8, and voice at age 9. After her family moved to Newark, CA, she transitioned to studying organ and Gregorian chant with Sam Dorlaque, music director at St. Edward Catholic Church in Newark, CA. Mary Joy worked as organist and cantor in several churches in her teens, and currently serves at part-time organist at the Oratory in the town of Ave Maria, Florida.