Events of the Past

Students Participate in 2014 State Hymn Festival

Piano students of Gulf Coast Music Teachers Association members Elsie A. Barnes, Rebekah Lipscombe, and Carol Mahler recently participated in the 2014 Baptist Keyboard Festival which was held at First Baptist Church in Pascagoula, Mississippi on January 23, 2014.  The Keyboard Festival, also widely known as the Hymn Festival, is a statewide event for piano and organ students in grades 1-12.  One of the goals of the Festival is to encourage keyboard instructors to teach hymn playing. 

Festival requirements challenge keyboard students to go on to greater accomplishments in six progressive categories.  Students in grades 1-3 (Category I), as well as older beginners in grades 4 and above (Category IA) are required to play a short, easy, hymn tune arrangement from memory.  Students in grades 1-12 who are ready to play from a hymnal, using the music, may participate in Category II.  Category IIA and III students gain experience in accompanying congregational singing, while playing a hymn under the direction of a conductor.  Category III students, grades 4-12, are also required to play a hymn arrangement.  Category IV students, grades 10-12, accompany congregational singing under a director and play a hymn arrangement as well as a selection from traditional piano or organ literature.  These students may also complete a musical proficiency test each year to be eligible for a scholarship their senior year.  Category IV students who qualify are invited to perform at the annual State Youth Keyboard Festival. 

Students of Elsie Barnes who participated in Category I were Tre Patton (Superior) and Zoie Pilate (Superior, with a perfect score).  Participating in Category IIA were Nia Miskel (Excellent), as well as Superior winners Trinitee Augustine, Layla Dubra, Aikia Rustamov, Jonathan Shelby, and Thomas Shelby.  Tyrese Thompson received a Superior, with a perfect score.  Category II participants were David Barnes, Jamilla Caldwell, Jaylen Caldwell, and Raven Jones, all of whom scored Superior.  Performing in Category III were Elijah Allen, Ashton Gage, Alexis Jones, Caleb Shelby, and Kayla Shelby, all of whom scored Superior.

Students of Rebekah Lipscombe who participated in Category I were Lauren Johnson and Nancy Kate Langley, both of whom scored Superior. Elijah Johnson scored Superior in Category IA.  Participating in Category II were Alaina Moore and Alex Moore, both scoring Superior.  In Category 2A, Logan Moore scored Superior.

Students of Carol Mahler who participated were Jade Agler in Category I (Superior); Joseph Agler and Carter Hudson in Category II (both Superior); and Gabriella Loiacano in Category IV (Superior).  Miss Loiacano will also take part in the State Youth Keyboard Festival on February 22, in Jackson.


2014 Bach Festival News

Ashton Gage                             Caleb R. Shelby, Jr.

Ashton Gage and Caleb Shelby were among 15 other students who participated in the 
44th  Annual Bach Festival held February 1, 2014, at Hinds Community College in Raymond, 
Mississippi. Both Aston Gage and Caleb Shelby received first place and also the five year 

 Ashton Gage played in the Senior Prelude and Fugue event. He performed the Prelude and 
Fugue in C minor from the Well Temper Clavier Book I by J.S. Bach. 
 Ashton is the son of Alfred and Tawana Gage. He is a 10th 
Harrison High School where he is a member of the choir and DECA organization. He is a 
member of the Boys and Girls Club of North Gulfport, and a member of the Gulf Coast Forrest 
Height Unit of the Supreme Chapter of Gulfport Kappa League. 
He attends Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Gulfport where he 
is a member of the youth department and also youth choir. He 
strives for excellence in everything that he pursues.
 Ashton and Elsie Barnes, his teacher for five years, are very 
grateful for helpful instructions received from USM piano 
professor Dr. Lois Leventhal, who conducted an outstanding 
Master Class on January 18, 2014 at First United Methodist 

Caleb R. Shelby, Jr. is the son of Rev. and Mrs. C. R. Shelby, Sr. of Gulfport. 
 Caleb participated in the Senior Advanced performance Event playing two contrasting 
Sonatas by D. Scarlatti (Sonata Longo 58 and Sonata 136-K61 and 
 Caleb is a junior honor student at Gulfport High School. He is a 
member of the symphonic band in the percussion group.
 Caleb is the percussion musician for Mercy Seat Baptist Church 
in Gulfport where his father is pastor. 
 Caleb is a five year piano student of Elsie A. Barnes and plans to 
attend Mississippi State University, majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

Other students who participated and played in the Honors Recital (a recital reserved for 
student receiving a score of 95-100) are: David Barnes, Jonathan Shelby, Kayla Shelby, Thomas 
Shelby and Derick Taylor. Students rated superior, with a score less than 95 are: Elijah Allen, 
Jamilla Caldwell, Jaylen Caldwell, Whitney Johnson, Raven Jones, Tre` Patton. Nia Miskel and 
Layla Dubra received excellent.

2014 Hymn Festival News

The following piano students of Elsie A. Barnes participated in the 2014 Baptist Keyboard 
Festival held at First Baptist Church in Pascagoula, Mississippi on January 23, 2014. Students 
participated in Categories I –III.

 Category I (grades 1-3), the following students participated: Tre Patton, superior and Zoie 
Pilate, superior with a perfect score.

 Category IA (grades 4 and above for students that are early and late beginners who are 
not yet ready to play from a standard hymnal), the following students participated: Tyrese 
Thompson superior with a perfect score; Trinitee Augustine, superior; Layla Dubra, superior; 
Aikia Rustamov, superior; Jonathan Shelby, superior; and Thomas Shelby, superior. Nia Miskel 
received an excellent.

 Category II (students who are ready to play from a standard hymnal without singing and 
directing), the following students participated: David Barnes, superior; Jamilla Caldwell, 
superior; Jaylen Caldwell, superior; and Raven Jones, superior.

 Category III (Students in grades 4-12 who are ready to play from a standard hymnal and 
also play an arrangement of the same hymn, not from memory, with conducting and singing) 
the following student participated: Elijah Allen, superior; Ashton Gage, superior; Alexis Jones, 
superior; Caleb Shelby, superior; and Kayla Shelby, superior.

September 24, 2013

The GCMTA Meeting on September 21st was a great success!  Special thanks to First Presbyterian Church of Gulfport for hosting us!

Several new members joined this year, and we hope to have even more!  Don't forget that new members who join will receive a rebate of half their annual dues for the 2013-2014 year.  After the meeting, Dr. Ellen Elder presented a wonderful workshop on JS Bach and his fugal works - many thanks to her for an interesting and inspiring presentation.  The year is full of other exciting activities, so be sure to review our calendar page.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact one of our officers for more information.

May 29, 2013

A lovely luncheon was hosted by Martha and Al Mayeu at their home on May 29.  Among the items covered at the meeting was the election of officers.  The slate was approved unanimously, along with the updates to the constitution regarding the change from "Corresponding Secretary" to "Web and Membership Manager."  
To view the slate of officers, go to GCMTA Officers page.  To view the changes to the constitution, go to the GCMTA Constitution and Bylaws page.

It's Official!!  As of July 1st, 2012, the elected officers below will take over management of GCMTA:
President - Carol Mahler
Vice-president - Rebekah Lipscombe
Treasurer - Marilyn Leone
Recording Secretary - Yvonne Young-McGrath
Corresponding Secretary - Martha Mayeu
Elections were held at our May 30 meeting and it was unanimous.  Appointed offices will be considered by the new Executive Board soon!  The proposed Constitution Correction was also approved and the newly corrected section (Bylaws, Art. VII, section 1) has now been replaced on this web site.

GCMTA held its annual Senior Awards event at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach on April 22. First place went to John McCann, student of Yvonne Young McGrath. Second place winner was Jennifer Quintos, student of Betty Hopkins. Also performing beautifully that day were Tiana Coleman, student of Elsie Barnes and Paul Solomon, student of Mildred Green Dickson. Congratulations to all for a beautiful afternoon of music.  Judges were Dr. Henry Jones and Dr. Kimberley Davis.

Sara Linger will present her Senior Piano Recital at 6:00 p.m. on
April 25, 2012, in Marsh Auditorium at the University of Southern
Mississippi as partial fulfillment toward a bachelor degree in
performance. She has already completed her requirements for
vocal performance (Dr. MaryAnn Kyle) and studies piano with Dr.
Lois Leventhal. Sara is a former student of Yvonne Young-
McGrath (voice and piano) and is currently considering several
offers to a master’s program.


The Gulf Coast Music Teachers Association held its annual Music Festival on Saturday, February 25.  Over 100 students performed in the Festival, held at the JD campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.  Five honors recitals were scheduled throughout the day for those students that received high superior ratings from the judges.  To see the various Honors Recital pictures, go to the Picture Gallery.

January 2012

CONGRATULATIONS JOHN McCANN of Ocean Springs, winner of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Senior Voice Competition for Mississippi!  The state competition was held in Nov. 2011.  John went on to compete in the Southern Division competitions this January, and won Honorable Mention.  John is a student of Yvonne Young-McGrath.  We are all very proud that John is a part of GCMTA!


November 29, 2011
Sara Linger of Ocean Springs, a graduate of Mississippi School of the Arts and former student of Yvonne Young-McGrath in voice and piano, is starting her "final run" for bachelor degrees in performance from the University of Southern Mississippi.  Sara will present her Senior Voice Recital on December 8 at Westminster Presbyterian, Hattiesburg, 7:30 p.m.   Her Senior Piano Recital will be scheduled next semester.  As an Honors College Student, she will also present an Honors College Project (vocal cabaret recital) in February.  Sara currently studies with Dr. MaryAnn Kyle (voice) and Dr. Lois Leventhal (piano).  We are all be proud of her.
April 2011

CONGRATULATIONS to Sarah Ramsay, Gulf Coast Music Teachers Association Senior Award Winner.  She is shown here (4th from the right) with her teacher Yvonne Young-McGrath (third from the right), Judge Kaye Chambless (2nd from the right), and other GCMTA members.