Fishers Student Honored to Win Prestigious Music Composition Award
Photographer / Eli Beaverson
The Indiana Music Education Association (IMEA) named Fishers Junior High School (FJHS) student Noah Strawhacker as a winner in its annual Composition Competition. One of three winners in the middle school division, Strawhacker’s composition, “Astrea,” was composed for string orchestra. The honor both surprised Strawhacker and encouraged him to continue his musical endeavors.
“I was not expecting to win the competition at all,” Strawhacker says. “It was actually one of my earlier compositions. It’s tough to describe it. It’s melodic and between two-and-a-half to three minutes long. I focused on the melody and harmonizing the melody. I drew inspiration for it from pieces of music I have played.”
Hopeful students submit pieces to the IMEA Composition Competition in the spring. Winners are announced at the end of the first semester during the following school year. The competition has three divisions – middle school, high school and college. Each participant receives valuable written feedback from the panel of composers and educators who jury the submissions. To enter the contest, a student must be sponsored by a school or teacher that is an IMEA member.
Amanda Cornet, FJHS orchestra director, facilitated Strawhacker’s final adjustments to his composition by having the school’s chamber orchestra premier it during their spring concert. He was able to hear how it sounded when being played by a live group. This enabled him to make needed changes before submitting it to the IMEA Composition Competition jury.
Cornet had a feeling Strawhacker had a chance to win the competition.
“Noah is a highly motivated musician who continues to strive for excellence in all that he does,” she says. “I am so proud to be able to work with Noah and look forward to playing many more of his compositions.”
One of the goals of the IMEA Composition Competition is to encourage fledgling composers to continue cultivating their talents and creativity.
Strawhacker comes from a musical family. His mother has sung in choirs and also plays the piano, and his father is a guitar player. Strawhacker began taking piano lessons at age 11. He began playing the cello and electric bass guitar during his seventh-grade year. In his spare time, he enjoys experimenting with musical arrangements he has written.
“I realized that composing is fun and I want to keep doing it,” Strawhacker says. “I like to doodle around with music, and if it sounds half decent I’ll continue to go off with it and keep working on it. I definitely want to take AP music theory in high school and I want to be in orchestral all four years. In the future, I’d like to teach music theory and orchestra. I would like to compose music for films. It’s very competitive, but hopefully, if I keep learning, I could achieve that.”