YSU Students Rock the Competition

Three students from Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music heard the sweet sound of success at the University of Oberlin’s Music Conservatory guitar competition.

One YSU competitor finished first place overall and two YSU competitors finished in the semifinals.

Phil Monrean, Michael Reardon and Chris Mrofchak competed against 24 other guitarists through three rounds of performances. The first round gave everyone a chance to play. Judges then sliced the number of competitors by half for the next round.

“We were judged by members of the Tantalus Quartet, who have performed all over the world in places such as Canada, Germany, Poland and other places,” Reardon said.

Judges James Stroud and Stephen Aron, professors at Oberlin, narrowed the competition down to four of the remaining players for the final round.

Mrofchak made it to the final round and tied for first overall while Phil Monrean and Michael Reardon made it to the semifinals through the second round.

“I’m pretty happy with how I did. I played the best I could,” Reardon said.

Monrean said the diverse group of competitors ranged from college freshman to graduate students.

“As a junior guitar major, it was an honor to be able to make it to the semifinals which was the top twelve guitarists,” he said.

The students will be performing at the end of April in the Dana junior and senior recitals.

“I am also grateful for my teacher, Dr. Fowler, who has worked with me for a long time and really cares about my development as a musician and as a person,” Monrean said.

As for the future, Reardon keeps his goals simple.

“As far as plans for the future — right now, just graduate school and hopefully performing on a regular basis,” Reardon said.

Mrofchak declined to comment.