Student musicians take top prizes in JMArts’s fourth-annual “Sing and Play”

Siler City, NC – Four local students took top prizes tonight in “Sing and Play ’22,” the fourth-annual student music competition at Jordan-Matthews High School. From auditions through the showcase concert, the event is designed as an educational experience for young musicians and a benefit concert for JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation.

Winners of “Sing and Play ’22” with the show’s co-hosts were, from left, co-host Wilson Ramos Meza, Jojo Chen of Woods Charter School, Zachary Klingel of Margaret B. Pollard Middle School, Buck and Maggie Thornton of Jordan-Matthews High School and co-host Litzy Garcia

Audience members voted Jojo Chen of Woods Charter School as best performance in the elementary division for her vocal rendition of “Lost Boy,” a song written and recorded by Ruth B. Zachary Klingel of Margaret B. Pollard Middle School topped an exceptionally strong middle school competition with his vocal and guitar performance of “Old Church Choir,”  a song written and recorded by Zach Williams.

And in the high school competition, Buck and Maggie Thornton of Jordan-Matthews High School took the prize for their vocal duet with guitar of “April Come She Will,” a song written by Paul Simon and recorded by Simon and Garfunkel.

“Sing and Play” is open to instrumental and vocal acts. While most sang to prerecorded accompaniment tracks, there were instrumental performances on five different instruments as well as vocalists who accompanied themselves on piano and guitar. The winner of each division received a $50 prize.

Rose Pate, president of JMArts, said she loves how everyone supports all of the performers. “It’s great to see how the community responds to the students,” she said. “It’s awfully hard to walk out on that stage in the bright lights, but the audience cheers for every kid like they’re their own.”

All money raised by the competition is used by JMArts to expand opportunity for high school artists, including those participating in the annual New York Arts Adventure. That trip scheduled over spring
break gives upperclass musicians, actors and visual artists an opportunity to explore one of the world’s great cities, experience the very best in the arts, and gain new perspectives and experiences that will influence their lives and work.

Students this year will have the opportunity to learn from Broadway actor, theater producer and director Jessie Austrian of Fiasco Theater; Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks and a notable graffiti writer working in the city. Other opportunities to interact with world-class artists are still being arranged.

Musicians from Chatham County and across the state were eligible for “Sing and Play.” Contestants in the showcase concert were selected by judges Greg Burriss, Matt Fry and Joseph Walden during auditions held in early February.

Pate expects “Sing and Play” to return next year with registration for auditions opening sometime around December 1. JMArts is already looking at possible dates for next year’s competition, which is likely to be held once again in mid- to late-February.

More information about “Sing and Play” and other arts events scheduled this season is available at Photos from this year’s showcase concert are online at