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Newberry Hosts First Annual W. Darr Wise Piano Competition

March 20, 2018


The Newberry College Department of Music hosted the first annual W. Darr Wise Piano Competition on Feb. 24, welcoming competitors in grades 6-12 to match their talents against other emerging musicians. 

“We were very impressed with the talent of the young musicians who participated in this competition,” said Dr. Chris Sheppard, chair of the Newberry College Department of Music. “We believe this event is a fitting way to honor professor Wise and his dedication to helping student to develop their musicianship. We look forward to hosting the event next year and to seeing its continued growth.” 


The piano competition is named in honor of professor emeritus W. Darr Wise, who taught at Newberry College for an impressive 42 years. His impact as a music educator is widespread through the work of his students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers as educators, performers and entrepreneurs throughout the country. 

For the inaugural year of the competition, 15 middle school and high school-age piano students participated in the event held on the Newberry College campus. Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Sarah Masterson and Newberry College alumnus Huger Caughman ’00 served as judges. 


Prizes were awarded to the competitors in the categories below. First-place winners received a cash prize of $250 in the Junior Division and $500 in the Senior Division. 

JUNIOR DIVISION (Grades 6 – 8) 


First Prize – Emma Bao (student of Lisa Kiser; Simpsonville, S.C.) 

Second Prize – Danika Yang (student of Lisa Kiser; Simpsonville, S.C.) 

Third Prize – Henry Sun (student of Lisa Kiser; Greer, S.C.) 


SENIOR DIVISION (Grades 9 – 12) 


First Prize – Oliver Rancu (student of Lisa Kiser; Anderson, S.C.) 

Second Prize – Emma Devine (student of Dr. Stephen Taylor; Simpsonville, S.C.) 

Third Prize – David Jang (student of Alice Ramirez; Newberry, S.C.) 

For more information about the W. Darr Wise Piano Competition, contact Dr. Sarah Masterson at or 803.321.5177.

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