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Music & Arts Students Win Awards

Released 12 June 2014

Stamford Star Search

Music & Arts Students Win Awards

at Salvation Army Star Search in Hershey

STAMFORD – The "Sweetest Place on Earth," Hersey, Pennsylvania – home of Hershey Chocolate, hosted the 30th Annual Salvation Army Star Search competition. Star Search took place the first weekend in June, with over 400 children participating in this event, including five youth from The Stamford Salvation Army Red Shield & Arts Academy. Candra Quetant, Jasmine Williams, Allana VanHouten, and Wyklend Turenne came together to compete in the dance team section and John Carlos Mendez competed in the drama monologue section.

John Carlos Mendez said, "This is my second year coming, and I still can’t believe how many people participate. I can’t believe The Salvation Army does this for us." During the trip to Hershey, Stamford’s dance team placed second, and Ms. Candra Quetant placed second on a dance solo. Lt. Lila Droz, Associate Commanding Officer, commented, "Our kids put in many hours and practice very hard. We are so proud of them and want to let the Stamford community know."

Stamford Star Search

The Salvation Army has a rich history of music, especially when it comes to music and brass bands. If you were to go to most Salvation Army locations, you will almost always hear or see some kind of an arts program happening. In Stamford, The Salvation Army created The Red Shield Music & Arts Academy program to build discipline, increase confidence, encourage leadership, and enhance the readiness to learn, of students in grades 3 through 12. The program provides activities, resources, and incentives that help motivate and guide each student to achieve success now and into the future. The intent of the program is to help the students achieve these goals in an atmosphere that is conducive to self-application, discipline, learning, and development.

Lt. Walter L. Droz, Stamford Commanding Officer, noted, "People love music, and they love art! The Salvation Army wants to provide opportunities for our at-risk children, to experience the wonders and joy of music and arts." Beyond the opportunity for expression, Lt. Droz also wants to provide the youth of Stamford with an option other than the streets. "I have seen many young people getting into serious problems and doing the wrong thing because they had no other choices. Teens and children are being bombarded with wrong influences all throughout their lives. Even if we can reach one child to let them know there are opportunities for success, then we have changed one life that might go on to change the world."

The Red Shield Music & Arts Academy offers music, dance, and acting instruction, and it’s looking to expand even further. There are conversations for poetry writing curriculum, painting, photography, and graphic design. "The City of Stamford has a rich history in the arts and we, The Salvation Army, just want to be a part of creating future artists that will create a real change for themselves and for their community."

If you are interested in volunteering at The Red Shield Music Academy, please contact Lt. Walter L. Droz at 203.359.2320 or walter.droz@use.salvationarmy.org.


In general, The Salvation Army’s Southern New England Division was very well represented by all who participated. Divisionally, it wishes to offer additional congratulations beyond Candra and Stamford’s dance team to also recognize those listed below who placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in their respective categories out of all of the participants:

Level 1 Acoustic Guitar Soloist - 1st Place - Isaiah Hovatter (age 10) - Middletown, CT Corps
Level 2 Piano Soloist - 1st Place - Samuel Andres (age 11) - Pawtucket, RI Corps
Level 3 Vocal Solo - 3rd Place -Tracie Kunzika (age 17) - Hartford (Citadel), CT Corps
Youth Chorus - 3rd Place - Hartford (Citadel), CT Corps Youth Chorus


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