Keynotes of South Hills is ready to resume awarding scholarships.

Because of COVID-19, the nonprofit benefactor of music students was unable to hold its annual competitions the past two years.

The next competition, though, is scheduled for May 14 in the fine arts theater at Mt. Lebanon High School.

“It’s open to every music major in Pennsylvania,” said Toni Kvederis of Scott Township, who chairs the Keynotes’ scholarship committee. “The applications will be sent out in February.”

Members of the group, which has awarded more than $400,000 since 1971, were able to gather in person recently for a Picnic in the Park event in the Lodge at Scott Park.

Lisa Jaworowski and Chuck Hankle

Lisa Jaworowski and Chuck Hankle perform during the Keynotes of South Hills summer picnic.

Providing live music were vocalist Lisa Jaworowski and guitarist Chuck Handle, members of the combo Lisa Jay and the TriO. Their performance included versions of songs by Classic Rock-era bands including the Beatles and Grateful Dead.

When the Keynotes competition resumes for vocalists and instrumentalists, the top three students will be awarded cash prizes totaling $12,000. Judges are music instructors from area universities.

“We’re told that we have a wonderful competition,” said Mt. Lebanon resident Paula Bongiorno, Keynotes president. “Very talented students come and participate, and the judges always have difficulty in selecting the winners.”

Instrumental music students also are eligible for the Phillip Bianco Memorial Music Scholarship, honoring a 37-year Mt. Lebanon High School English teacher who also was a professional saxophonist and clarinetist.

Andy Bianco, his son, started the scholarship through an initial GoFundMe campaign. A 1998 Mt. Lebanon High School graduate, Andy leads a band as a guitarist and is scheduled to perform Aug. 26 at Kingfly Spirits in the Strip District and Aug. 27-28 at Con Alma in Shadyside for the Pittsburgh release of his new album, “NYC Stories.”

The main Keynotes fundraiser is a luncheon and fashion show usually held in the spring. This year’s event is taking place Sept. 25.

For more information about Keynotes of South Hills, visit www.facebook.com/keynotesofsouthhills.

Andy Bianco

Andy Bianco performs during the Keynotes of South Hills 50th-anniversary celebration in 2019.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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