Though he tried his hand at the skill by age two and a half, it wasn't until the ripe old age of four that, under the instruction of Gina Bagnoli, Corey Sharp began his violin career.
By age six, working with Sean Baran, Corey began playing piano, and according to his mom, Carol Sharp, shortly thereafter, Corey joined the Youngstown Symphony's Youth Orchestra's Symphonette, conducted by Michele Prokop, and co-conducted by Richard Smrek.
Also a member of a Suzuki Ensemble Group, throughout his musical career, Corey has enjoyed venues such as Suzuki at the Blossom Music Center, Cleveland's Goodtime Boat Cruise, Butler Institute of American Art and numerous performances at DeYor Performing Arts Center.
Photo by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
Currently a 10 year-old fourth grade student at Frank Ohl Intermediate, Corey Sharp is a member of both the Youngstown Symphony’s Youth Orchestra’s Symphonette, and a Suzuki Ensemble Group, and on Saturday, March 17th, will perform at an Honor’s Recital for The Ohio Federation of Music Clubs.
"For the first time this year, Corey also accepted the invitation to play his piano at the Butler Honor's Recital," said Sharp.
"Having absolute pitch, he can play anything he hears, and has been identified as gifted in music and academics by the Ohio Department of Education. As music is a well-known contributor to a higher brain function, Frank Ohl Intermediate has placed Corey in a gifted language arts program and advanced him a grade level higher in mathematics," said Sharp.
Currently a 10-year-old fourth-grader, Corey learned to read music before words, according his mother. On Saturday March 17, the youngster will perform at an Honor's Recital for The Ohio Federation of Music Clubs.
"This is an honors program open to the public at Youngstown State University's Bliss Hall," said Sharp, adding that this fete may allow him to perform his violin at the District Festival Honors Program and then progress to the State Convention.
Sharing that the annual event is a blind competition where the student performs for two judges, Sharp said the solo, concerto and ensemble events are divided into classes of difficulties.
"Corey, as a fourth-grader, has ranked into the Junior Class IA for the concerto event and Medium Class II for his solo performances on violin," she said, adding that this will be Corey's fourth year for violin and third year for piano.
According to Sharp, receiving the highest rating of Superior affords the student an opportunity to earn five points, and an accumulation of 15 points over three years, earns the student a trophy.
Corey received his trophy last year for violin and this year his invitation to the Honors Program for the National Federation of Music Clubs.
Shortly thereafter, on April 3, Corey will perform with the Youngstown Symphony's Symphonette at De Yor's Eleanor Beecher Flad Pavilion.
Having achieved three consecutive years of Unanimous Superior Ratings for violin and two Unanimous Superior Ratings for piano, Sharp said next year, Corey may have the opportunity to earn an invitation to the same recital for piano.
Sharp shared that Corey's brother Brandon will also play at this honors recital, where he has received two of these trophies for piano and one for violin. "Brandon is also the youngest member of the Youngstown Symphony's Youth Orchestra's First Violin Section conducted by Dr. (Stephen) Gage and co-conducted by Richard Smrek," she said.
Admittedly nervous when her sons are in recitals with ratings and trophies at stake, Sharp said it's when they are playing in the orchestra that nerves are replaced by "just the overflowing pride."
Keeping the perspective of a fourth-grader however, Corey said, "The thing I like is that they have cookies too, after you're done."
Carol Sharp and her husband Mike make their home with sons Brandon and Corey, completing their household with two dogs, two cats, and music -- lots and lots of music.