Popular Radio Program To Tape Episode Oct. 16 At Baylor

News Photo 713
Oct. 15, 2002

by Michael Hagerty

"From the Top," the popular Public Radio program that showcases outstanding young musicians and vocalists, will tape an episode at Oct. 16 at Baylor University's Jones Concert Hall. The 7:30 p.m. performance is sold out but is slated for national broadcast in December.

Two Central Texas performers will be among host Christopher O'Riley's guests - Katie Ward, a 17-year-old organist and senior at Crawford High School, and Amber Welborn, a 16-year-old vocalist and senior at Midway High School.

Ward will play the final movement of Félix-Alexandre Guilmant's 1st Symphony in D Minor, while Welborn will perform "Adele's Laughing Song," an aria from the Johann Strauss operetta "Die Fledermaus."

"I'm more nervous about the interview than the playing," Ward said. "I'm pretty comfortable with the piece. It'll be fun."

Ward played the Guilmant piece last year and won first in the state in her division at the Texas Music Teacher's Association competition. She also spends her time playing clarinet in the marching band, playing organ for her church, competing in number sense at UIL academic meets and playing midfield for a nationally ranked club soccer team in Dallas.

Much like Ward, Welborn has grown up around music. Her mother and grandmother are pianists, her father is a vocalist and Amber is both a vocalist and violin player since she was 6.

"Music was always there," she said.

Opera is one of Welborn's many hobbies. She performed in the chorus of the Lyric Opera of Waco's September presentation of "La Bohéme." She spent part of this past summer in San Francisco at an opera arts training program. She is a member of the choir and orchestra at her school and has played violin competitively since second grade.

Welborn said she's definitely looking forward to being on "From the Top", but she's not nervous yet.

"I'm excited," she said. "I'll probably get nervous right before, but right now I'm ready to go."

"From the Top" is hosted by O'Riley, whose engaging and humorous personality drives the show. The one-hour program combines individual performances with lively interviews, unique pre-produced segments, lighthearted sketches and musical games. The program airs on KWBU 103.3FM each Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.

For more on "From the Top," visit http://www.fromthetop.org.

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