Scholarship Concerts & Recitals 2018

The 16th Annual Scholarship Concerts & Recitals Program is now accepting applications from aspiring student musicians of all ages to participate in its unique program that is designed to provide both live performance experience and professional, adjudicated critique opportunities to student musicians – whether they be instrumentalists or vocalists.  The program also awards substantial music scholarships to the top school-aged competitors during the program’s Finals held May 5, 2018 at 2:30 pm at the Hi-Desert Cultural Center.

HDCC-Scholarship-Concerts-&-Recitals-2016-660x400The program includes two performance options, one designed for students who simply want to perform as a recitalist for experience and the other for those musicians who also want to compete for the scholarship funding.  Hundreds of students have successfully participated in the program, which has awarded over $36,000 in music education scholarships and is funded through private donations, Joshua Tree Philharmonic concert ticket sales, and recital ticket sales.  This year $1,700 will be awarded to student musicians who participate in the multi-part scholarship portion of the program: $1,000 First Place Award, $500 Second Place Award, and $200 Third Place Award.

Prior to the final public recitals, participants are coached on performance and stage etiquette, mic technique, and, for those competing for a scholarship, their music portfolio creation.  The breadth of the process creates the area’s best opportunity for aspiring student musicians to gain performance experience in front of a live audience and gain a better understanding of the adjudication process that they may experience when applying for college or a professional career opportunity.  While students must be in grades 1-12 to be eligible to participate in the scholarship portion of the program, students of all ages are encouraged to participate as recitalists because the rigor of pubic performance helps each participant to grow — musically and personally — by requiring them to set well-defined goals, implement a plan to achieve those goals, successfully execute those goals, and follow through with the goals to completion.  With their new experience and, in some cases, scholarship awards, participants continue to grow and invest in their skills.  Some past winners have gone on to win top-tier international music competitions, placed second on CBS Star Search, and gone on to obtain college music scholarships.

CLICK HERE if you would like to make a financial contribution to the music scholarships that get awarded.


April 20, 2018 – Applications Due
May 5, 2018 – 2:30 pm – Scholarship Concerts & Recitals Event & Final Auditions

  • Due to the sell-out nature of this event, participants are encouraged to purchase tickets for family members or friends in advance online (CLICK HERE) or by calling the Box Office at 760.366.3777
  • Camcorders, lights, and tripods strictly prohibited.
  • BluRay orders and payment for a recording of the entire program will only be accepted at the May 5th event.


  1. Applicants must be sponsored by an established public or private instructor. Instructors need not be present at the rehearsal or recital.
  2. Applicants must reside in, or be studying from, an instructor in the Morongo Basin, Coachella Valley, Inland Empire or High Desert/Apple Valley regions.
  3. ALL musicians and instruments, including voice, are welcome to perform either as a RECITALIST for experience or SCHOLARSHIP CONTENDER (see below).
  4. ALL students, regardless of age, are welcome to perform.
  5. Applicants agree to comply with the recital dress code:
    • MEN – tuxedo, suit, costume, or dressing appropriate for the style of music being performed
    • WOMEN – formal dress, costume, or dressing appropriate for the style of music being performed
  6. Applicants agree to perform one segment of music not to exceed five (5) minutes in length. It must be polished and preferably memorized.
  7. Applicants must provide their own performance materials (i.e. guitar amps, vocal track CD’s, etc.). A grand piano will be provided for performance or accompaniment.
  8. Applicants agree to conduct themselves in a professional manner both on and off the stage.
  9. Applicants may participate in the concert without having to compete for a scholarship.
  10. Applicants must attend a sound-check/dress rehearsal on the evening of Friday, May 4, 2018, at 6:00 pm.
  • Only student musicians in grades 1-12 are eligible to compete for scholarship.
  • Scholarships will be awarded at the end of the Final Competitions.
  • Scholarship applications are first pre-screened for completeness and neatness.
  • Former first place scholarship winners may not compete in any two consecutive years.
  • Completed applications meeting the initial criteria will be reviewed by a committee based on proof of performance experience presented.
  • Finalists will perform to an audience and panel of adjudicators on Saturday, May 5, 2018.
  • All performances will be scored for accuracy, musicality, stage presence, consistency and professionalism.
  • Helpful information on how to build your music portfolio is available (see “MUSIC PORTFOLIO” below).


  1. A thoroughly written essay that answers the following questions:
    • What are your professional goals?
    • If you received a music scholarship, how would you make use of the monetary award?
    • As much of popular music is created using computers/synthesis and is not capable of being fully replicated by other performers live, do you feel that this is detrimental, advantageous, or not relevant for musicians and songwriters when it comes to the longterm longevity and popularity of the music they write? Explain.
  2. Biography / Resume stating your prior accomplishments, professional credits, and/or performance experience.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. NOTE: One letter must be from your principle music instructor addressing your performance experience and level of talent.
  4. COLOR headshot or school photograph of participant.
  1. Registration: $10.00 per applicant. Registration is limited. Registration is due no later than April 20, 2018.
  2. An additional $4.00 processing fee is applied to students competing for a scholarship.
  3. All registration fees are non-refundable. Proceeds go to the music scholarship fund.
MUSIC PORTFOLIO - Make It A Memorable Song!
Whether applying to college, a gig, a scholarship opportunity, or a full-time position as a musician, your music portfolio needs to be a “showcase” of you, your personality, and your music talent! Here are eight basic steps, or rules, for presenting yourself in this trendy market:

RULE #1: Every picture tells a story!
Get a decent camera to take pictures of you performing. Action shots of you with your instrument (vocalists at a microphone) that also captures an audience as well, validate your public performance experience. Collect programs from your performances. These verify the magnitude or importance of the event you participated in. Links to YouTube or similar video footage are equally powerful and important to have. If you do not have video recording equipment, try to find a friend that does who also wouldn’t mind helping you out.
RULE #2: Assure the Presentation is Attractive!
Neatness counts! Logical organization of your portfolio sends a clear message of being an individual who “has their act together!” Use PDF files with Table of Contents as a format for sending any resume, images, or portions of your collective portfolio. Using any other file format may result in your information arriving “jumbled”, not appearing the way you meant it, or not being able to be opened up at all (if other computer programs are outdated, for example.)
RULE #3: More is LESS, and Less is MORE
Create your music portfolio so that you can “pick and choose” items that will target your message. For example, if you plan to audition for a position as a vocalist in a musical, your focus would be to include only items that support your skill for that opportunity. Creative individuals often blossom in other artistic areas, but too much information may overshadow the strength of the one skill you are aiming to promote. Be sure your portfolio collection offers clear and POSITIVE descriptions of what individuals are looking at. Avoid “information overload”.
RULE #4: Customize!
Every time you show your portfolio, your objective is to make an impression to gain favor toward a specific music opportunity. Think about what items will showcase you best for the position or opportunity you are trying for. Keep a master portfolio from which you can pick and choose items to make a “customized” presentation. This may result in having several different portfolios, each with a different focus. Some musicians have performance skills, as well as, instructor skills. Other musicians are trained in specific genres of music, but may also have compositional skills and technical studio production skills that are worthy to showcase. Whatever you do, be sure to customize your presentation. Keeping a personal “master collection” will allow you the freedom to build just the right message for just the right audience!
RULE #5: A “Little Extra” Technology and YOU
As the music world progresses, so does the technology used with it. Acoustic instruments have always held their own, but more and more these instruments are finding themselves integrated with technology that can change the instrument’s sound, pitch, amplification, effects and more. Become a perpetual student of your instrument! Be sure to note your experience with “the latest” regarding the technological trends. This mention can often be the “little extra” that you bring to the table that your competition doesn’t have!
RULE #6: Cover Letters, Resumes, and Bios
Typos, poor grammar, sloppy margins, run-on sentences and paragraphs are image killers. No matter how gifted you are with your music, you need to make it easy on the reader to get your message across. If writing is not your skill, get help — plain and simple! Cover letters should be brief, addressing the highlights of your portfolio, and a specific example of one of your successes (found within) that you deem worthy or that qualifies you to be looked at and considered for whatever position you are applying for. The same “good writing” holds true with Resumes and Bios. Get someone to proofread your work!
RULE #7: Hard Copy VS Digital
When engaging in a “face-to-face” interview, a customized “hard copy” of your portfolio is ideal. Having a digital (CD, DVD, thumbdrive, etc.) version, or “expanded” version included can allow for additional exposure upon a moment’s notice. Having a “website” or “YouTube” channel is another great way of helping people learn about and become interested in you. Technology today has advanced to where voices and performances can be “doctored” to misrepresent your talent — and the industry is savvy to this, so be sure you can duplicate that level of performance LIVE if called upon to do so!
RULE #8: Tell the Truth
The entertainment industry is a small world, and the music industry is even smaller! Mistruths and half-truths will get found-out and follow you forever down your music career path. Rule of thumb, if you can’t prove it, don’t use it!


Design them to promote your music skills. Leave out non-essential employment or activities. Do not exceed two pages. Use a one-inch margin and a 10 or 12 point font. Be sure to begin with a “Summary Statement” (this is where you express what you are targeting.) Be prepared to have references if not listed.


This is your music life in “story form”. This should be concise and objectively written, as if others were reading about you in a production’s program or brochure. By indicating your root beginnings in music, then highlighting your pivotal or greatest landmark accomplishments, readers can skip the many stepping stones in between and still have a great understanding of you and your music career.


GREAT NEWS FOR SEASON PACKAGE TICKET HOLDERS! Should your schedule change and you find yourself needing to attend a performance on a different date — if you give the Box Office at least 48 hours notice prior to your ticketed performance, management will attempt to exchange your ticket for a different performance of the same show!