Harp, cellos, piano, violins, violas, vocalists, Oh my! Twenty-six young musicians will grace the stage of the Chastain Theater at The Prizery at 7 pm Friday. This is the largest card for a Bland Contest in memory. The sponsoring South Boston Lions Club feels they have the best Bland Contest in the state. Beginning last year, students play, or are accompanied by, The Prizery's new 9-foot Steinway concert grand piano.
One Vocal and one Instrumental winner, rendering classical compositions, will each win $300 cash. This is probably the largest Club award in the state. They will then be eligible to compete on the District level for $100 U.S. Savings Bonds for winners and $50 U.S. Savings Bonds for runners-up. District winners will compete at the Lions Club State Convention in Bristol next May. State winners win a $2,500 scholarship. First and second runners-up receive $2,000 and $1,500 scholarships, respectively. Fourth, fifth, and sixth place receive $1,000 cash.
Lions Clubs in Virginia began James A. Bland Memorial Music Scholarship Contests in 1948. James Alan Bland was an African-American musician and composer. He was the most successful entertainer of his time in North America, extremely wealthy.