Mary Grace “Gracie” Ellerbee, 17, of Zachary, is the latest featured soloist to perform with the Louisiana Youth Orchestra.
Ellerbee was the winner of the Louisiana Music Teachers Association’s Senior Piano Concerto competition held in December at the LSU School of Music. To compete, each contestant had to learn the last movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 40, and perform it for a judge.
As the winner, Ellerbee has earned the opportunity to perform the movement with the Louisiana Youth Orchestra on jApril 25 at the Baton Rouge High School auditorium. The performance begins at 3 p.m., and everyone is invited to attend. Admission is free.
Ellerbee has been playing piano for eight years but has trained classically for the past two. She presently studies under Lin Tian at the Music Preparatory School in Zachary and has taken lessons with Kathy Overfield, of Kathy’s Keyboards, and Thais Perkins, director of the Music Tree Preparatory School.
Ellerbee attended the piano program at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan, last summer and was awarded $5,000 to attend a six-week summer arts camp.
At Zachary High School, Ellerbee, a junior, is a pianist in the jazz ensemble and the pit percussion section leader for the ZHS marching band and wind symphony.
She has earned honors as a member of the Louisiana All-State Jazz Band for two consecutive years and the East Baton Rouge All-Parish Jazz Band for three. She also is a three-year Loyola Jazz Fest Outstanding Soloist.
Ellerbee is the daughter of Patty Houk and Kevin Ellerbee, the lead guitarist and vocalist of The Elvin Killerbee Band.
Following graduation from ZHS in 2016, Ellerbee plans to attend a four-year university and major in piano performance. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, Ellerbee said she intends to pursue a master’s and doctor of musical arts degree.
“I want to perform and open my own piano studio,” said Ellerbee.