Mary Castello is the 2012 recipient of the $3,500 Abner Martin music scholarship given by Menno Singers, a community choir in the Waterloo Region of Ontario,
Mary, who is from Kitchener, Ontario, began piano lessons at age five with her father, K-W Symphony Principal Trombonist, Jay Castello. She later studied piano and theory with Jennifer Massicotte and Ann Smith. In 2010, Mary completed her studies through Conservatory Canada, receiving an Associate Diploma in Piano Pedagogy. Now in her second year at Wilfrid Laurier University, she is working towards a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance, studying with Professor Leslie De’Ath. This past summer she attended the Vocal Art Workshop at the Orford Arts Centre in Quebec where she studied with Olivier Godin. Last year she was a finalist in Laurier’s annual concerto competition.
Mary has contributed her talents in many ways in church and community. At her home church, Stirling Avenue Mennonite, she has served with the Worship and Music Ministry for the past several years. She accompanies congregational singing and the choir at Stirling, and has been a regular participant in community music events. She sang with Inter-Mennonite Children’s Choir and Menno Youth Singers for 10 years, and is now a sectional leader for the Children’s Choir. Mary teaches piano and theory at Renaissance School of the Arts in Waterloo. In 2009, she participated in the !Explore program through Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and travelled to Paraguay to attend Mennonite World Conference, with pastor Marilyn Rudy-Froese. In preparation for the trip, Mary organized and led a service of music and gave a piano recital at Stirling.
The Abner Martin Music Scholarship is awarded annually to a deserving student who is affiliated with Mennonite Church Eastern Canada and is a full-time student in a graduate or undergraduate music program. This year’s award comes from the earnings of the scholarship endowment fund and donations from the Jim and Lorna Blair Charitable Foundation and anonymous donors. The next application deadline is September 15, 2012.
--Dec. 5, 2012