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Young Guelph pianist tops in the province

Ramone Cascardi-Stocco won first place against 65 competitors at the Ontario Music Festivals Association provincial finals

A 12-year-old pianist from Guelph has claimed the top spot at the Ontario Music Festivals Association (OMFA) Provincial Finals.

Ramone Cascardi-Stocco won first place at the competition held in Niagara Region from June 5 – 10th.  

“I worked very hard to get there, and I think I did very well,” Cascardi-Stocco said.

“It was such an awesome experience.”

After meeting his new piano teacher, Margarita Kolosova, two years ago, the Grade 7 student at Kortright Public School says that a new passion for playing the piano had sparked.

“I played at other studios, but I really started learning when I met my new teacher, Margartia,” Cascardi-Stocco said.

“She really boosted my learning and since then, I’ve become almost twice as good as I was.”

Kolosova says Cascardi-Stocco has dedicated himself to mastering the piano, which ultimately led to his exceptional achievement against 65 competitors in level 6 at the provincials this year. 

"After winning at the Guelph Kiwanis Music Festival and showing off his gift of music, Ramone was nominated to represent Guelph at the provincial level, and he certainly did Guelph proud," she said.

Kolosova looks forward to lessons with Ramone because, she says, he is talented and very passionate about music.

“Ramone has been my student for almost two years, and in that relatively short period of time, he has shown tremendous growth. He also has an intelligent approach to his practice at home which has played an important role in his success,” Kolosova said.

“Ramone is a normal boy who loves to play sports and hang out with his friends. But when the time comes to practice or to prepare for a competition, he is all in.” 

Cascardi-Stocco’ mother, Elena says she is very proud of her son’s recent accomplishments.  

“Ramone has always been a really intense personality and I’m so glad he has found piano to channel his mental energy into. He practiced more than usual for Kiwanis and the provincials. I saw him struggling with the amount of repetition and discipline required, but he knows that is a part of becoming good at anything,” Elena said.

“We can’t thank his teacher enough because he wouldn’t have continued with lessons if we hadn’t have found her at the right time. She nurtures his love of music and has made a real connection with him.”  

Cascardi-Stocco’s journey into the world of piano began five years ago.

“Originally, my mom said, well, you really seem to be into music. I would always be playing with a keyboard or on a bunch of different things. I would listen to music. It was always music, music, music,” Cascardi-Stocco said.

“And so, my mom signed me up for piano. She thought I would like it. At first, I wasn’t all that into it until I met Margarita. She really just made it so fun for me to learn. I really enjoy the piano. She just really boosted the experience.”

Cascardi-Stocco frequently researches composers on the internet and has a great appreciation for classical music.

“For the Kiwanis Festival, I would practice for about 45 minutes to an hour daily. It was a lot. I would just constantly be practicing to get a better overall grade at that competition,” Cascardi-Stocco said.

Cascardi-Stocco says he really enjoys competing.

“I find it quite interesting. You get to go to other places and compete with other people. It really is an adventure, in many ways,” he said.

“It’s not just people in Guelph but from all around Ontario. The competition is tough, and it did make me quite nervous, but I really enjoy it.”

Cascardi-Stocco loves a good challenge. His favourite musical piece is Moonlight Sonata, 3rd Movement.

“I really enjoy learning this. It’s a very advanced and technical song. But that’s what I like. I’m more of a technical player. My teacher says my fingers move fast,” he said.

Cascardi-Stocco says he looks forward to competing again and will continue lessons throughout the summer.

“What I really like about the piano is that you can play multiple chords and scales. You can use all 10 fingers to make all different kinds of sounds. You can make more harmony,” Cascardi-Stocco said.

“I see this as my future job, my career. I want to pursue music. I really enjoy music. I never plan on quitting piano."