Antonio wins Bland music scholarship

Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, May 25, 2021

By Mary Batten-Bland

Viviana Antonio, a graduating senior at Floyd E. Kellam High School in Virginia Beach and the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, has been named the winner of the 2021 Ed Bland Music Scholarship.

The scholarship, established in 2013 in honor of the late composer Ed Bland, awards $1,000 to a high school senior who plans to pursue a professional career in music.

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“My immediate goal is to continue my cello studies, collaborate with other musicians, and build my own platform to reach out to people,” Viviana said in a phone interview.

Viviana has been surrounded by music since she was born. Her mother, Rebecca Antonio plays violin in the family band, Two Arms of Flight, which performs at local venues, and teaches violin, viola, piano and singing. Her father, Robert Antonio, who is an architect by day and plays percussion, and her older brother, Alex, plays viola and guitar. Family jam sessions are a regular part of life.

Viviana says her first “instrument” was her voice, and her mother coached her in singing. In the first grade, she began piano lessons. “My mom thought it would be fun for me to learn piano, but then music became my passion,” she says. Several years later, inspired by another family member who played cello, Viviana began studying the instrument in the fifth grade when she was 11 years old.

Managing her music and her school studies during the pandemic has been challenging, with months of virtual school at home, but in-person school resumed four days a week in mid-April, after spring break, at both her high school and the Governor’s School for the Arts.

Viviana is excited to be going to Carnegie Mellon University School of Music this fall. Full of energy and ideas, Viviana says she would like to pursue music as a performer, collaborator, and creator of content for performance. Within her family, she’s already been doing all three.