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Artist of the Year 2020: Instrumental music…

by Heide Janssen | Orange County Register

The following students have been named as nominees for the 2019 Artist of the Year in instrumental music. We received 117 nominations from teachers and private instructors at Orange County high schools and arts organizations.

This arts discipline has been divided into five specialties: commercial and world/cultural music, jazz, piano and stings, and winds and percussion. Semi-finalists in each specialty will be chosen by a panel of music teachers and announced in April at ocregister.com

The nominees are listed with an endorsement from their nominating teacher, the primary instrument(s) they play, and a link to the student’s work.


Elizabeth Dilao, steel drum (steel pan)

No matter how rhythmically or melodically complex the music, Lizzie can handle it. She is a rock-solid player, excellent reader, and while she’s primarily a bass pan player, she’s always open to playing another steel drum when necessary for the ensemble. If that wasn’t enough, Lizzie is also a fantastic pianist!” — Amanda Duncan, Santa Margarita Catholic High School

Cole Robert Engleman, steel drum (steel pan)

“In addition to honing his steel drum skills, Cole has developed his bass guitar playing, grown as a conga soloist, laid down the beat behind the drum set, and expanded his musical sensitivity and refined his listening and orchestration skills through playing auxiliary percussion. Whether we’re playing calypso, soca, rock, funk, jazz or classical pieces, Cole is one of the most versatile students I’ve ever worked with.” — Amanda Duncan, Santa Margarita Catholic High School

Emily Horn, steel drum (steel pan)

“We music teachers see all kinds of students come and go in their classrooms, but it’s not often a student comes in with that “it” quality — something intangible that combines talent, artistry, passion, and a curiosity for exploring the meaning of the music beyond the notes on the page. Emily is one of those students. In the three years I’ve known her, she’s grown tremendously in her musical and technical skills on steel drums.” — Amanda Duncan, Santa Margarita Catholic High School

Dylan Gerard Puepke, steel drum (steel pan), cello

“Dylan is one of those students who inspires his peers to be their best on a daily basis, not merely through words, but through his actions. He brings his A-game to class every day, and is always willing to help out his fellow students with a challenging musical passage or technical difficulty.” — Amanda Duncan, Santa Margarita Catholic High School


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