Gardner-Webb Student Harpist Honored As a National Finalist

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Hannah Blaclock Performs at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City  

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb University student Hannah Blalock recently performed at the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Competition in New York City.  She was one of only three finalists from over 400 submissions across the nation in the harp division.

“I feel very honored, grateful and thankful for the prayers and support of Dr. Frank Bonner (GWU president) and the University,” said Blalock.  “This was a tremendous honor and opportunity.”

Blalock, from Matthews, N.C., is in her second year as a harp performance and church music major in the GWU School of Performing and Visual Arts.  She also serves as a resident advisor at GWU, a tutor for the Music Department, and a Presidential Scholar in Music.

This accomplishment was significant for Blalock on many levels, but none more heartfelt than for her parents.  “I was so glad that mom could see me perform along with my harp professor, Sivan Magen.” Blalock knew this would have been extremely special to her father, who had passed away March 5 after a courageous battle against cancer.  Her father, a GWU graduate and native of Boiling Springs, N.C., had viewed Blalock’s video submission for consideration before his death and had hoped she would be selected.

The ASTA was founded over 60 years ago and holds the national solo competition every two years in different locations throughout the United States.  The event showcases select performers in all string instruments, including the violin, viola, guitar, cello, and double bass.  The selection process for finalists is conducted through the submission of a video recording that is critiqued by a panel of judges. This year’s performances were held at the famous Merkin Concert Hall on April 8.

After making trips to New York for rehearsal sessions, followed by her performance, Blalock is back on the GWU campus resuming her student leadership responsibilities and preparing for future competitions like the Dutch International Competition and Music Festival to be held in Holland in 2014.

More information about the School of Performing and Visual Arts – music division is available at 704-406-4448 or by emailing Dr. Patricia Sparti, chair-music department and professor of music, at

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University blends a liberal arts core curriculum with more than 55 major and minor programs of specialized study, a comprehensive academic experience that flows from our Christian commitment to intellectual freedom, service and leadership.