Distinguished Salem alumna, professor emerita of music and internationally recognized composer, Margaret Vardell Sandresky, celebrated her 90th birthday with a special gala concert on October 1, 2011, in Hanes Auditorium. Sandresky was presented with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest honor the governor can bestow on a North Carolina citizen. Winston-Salem mayor, Allen Joines, also proclaimed the day Margaret Vardell Sandresky Day in Winston-Salem.
During the celebration, the winner of the annual Margaret Vardell Sandresky International Composition Competition was announced. Dr. Joseph Eidson of New Cumberland, PA., won the competition with the composition “Songs of Enchantment and Wonder,” which premiered during the event. Eidson is a member of the music faculty at Bucknell University, teaching theory and composition. Salem College School of Music director and pianist Barbara Lister-Sink and associate director and mezzo-soprano Cristy Lynn Brown performed the work.
During the event, Margaret Sandresky's Piano Trio No. 3, “Along the Riverbank,” also received a world premier. Prior to the concert, a symposium “The e-Composer in the 21st Century” featured Margaret Sandresky as well as other renowned composers and competition judges Kenneth Frazelle, Charles Fussell and Eleonor Sandresky, moderated by Barbara Lister-Sink.
The competition, which honors the beloved Salem alumna and composer, was open to young composers under the age of 30. Eligible works had not yet received a premiere, were under 10 minutes in length and scored for at least two instruments from the following list: flute, piano, mezzo-soprano, and cello.
The winner received $500.00 and a professional recording of the premiere.