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Tax deductible donations to our scholarship funds (Talent Bank Awards Festival and Opportunity Grants) are gratefully accepted. Make checks payable to SCCMTAC. Please specify in a letter to which scholarship fund you’d like your donation applied. Mail checks to:

Carol Panofsky, Treasurer
131 Cave Gulch Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Talent Bank Awards Festival

Talent Bank Awards Festival (TBAF) is a merit scholarship program representing our branch’s oldest continuous project, funded by donations and endowments. The 2024 event will be Saturday, April 13 at United Methodist Church, 250 California St., Santa Cruz. Students will have an opportunity to perform before professional musicians for adjudication and written evaluations. Scholarships totaling about $2,500 are awarded to students with highest scores. The event is open to the public at no charge.

The Festival concludes with an award ceremony to announce the scholarship winners, followed by the Barbara Call Memorial Recital, featuring top scoring winners. All participants are expected to attend. SCCMTAC dress code is in effect for the day.

The Talent Bank Awards Festival is an annual event of the Santa Cruz County Music Teachers’ Association of California. This merit scholarship program has been an encouragement to county music students since 1970. Member teachers, students and friends have over the ensuing years raised thousands of dollars for these awards. Primary funding in recent years has been through the efforts of Celebrate Piano Ensemble. Their annual recital features piano ensemble music performed by member teachers and friends.

Barbara Call Memorial Scholarship was established in 1999 by Barbara Call and her friends to recognize excellence in performance for piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, or chamber music by students from Santa Cruz County. It is held in conjunction with the Talent Bank Awards Festival. Barbara Call was a distinguished Santa Cruz County pianist, teacher, and founder of the Talent Bank program.

  • November 1, 2023 – Applications available at branch website

  • January 15, 2024 – Application deadline

  • February 15, 2024 – Repertory deadline

  • April 13, 2024 – Awards Festival and Barbara Call Recital (Winners Recital)

Opportunity Grant Scholarships

These yearly awards go to highly motivated young students whose families are financially unable to provide private music lessons.

Applicants must be enrolled in a Santa Cruz County school or be home-schooled county residents, and at grade levels from 2 through 12 during the coming school year. Applicants must have practice access to the chosen instrument of study.

The scholarships, which may be full or partial, remain in effect for one school year beginning in September. Scholarships may be renewable on a year-to-year basis, provided funds remain available and acceptable musical progress is being made.

Applications are due May 15 for scholarships serving the upcoming school year. Interviews are held in early summer. 

Mueller Scholarships – Administered by the Santa Cruz Symphony

The Santa Cruz Symphony is proud to support aspiring young musicians learning their craft. Established through the foresight of the late Ruth B. Mueller, the Mueller Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to needy and deserving musicians under the age of 18 who live in Santa Cruz County. Scholarships may be used directly to subsidize private lessons, tuition for local youth performance ensembles, and camperships.

The Symphony’s Education Committee typically awards a total of over $12,000 annually, with individual scholarships and camperships ranging between $500 and $750. The award will be paid directly to the recipient’s music teacher or ensemble, (e.g. Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony or Cabrillo Strings) or music camp.


Applicants must be residents of Santa Cruz County, be entering middle or high school for 2023-24 school year, be working with a private teacher if applying for private lessons or have applied and been accepted to an ensemble or camp. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Teacher recommendations are required for all applications.

Applications will be available on the Symphony’s website February 15, and are due no later than March 31. Please visit for more information.

Youth Chamber Music Competition

Since 2003 the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival has offered an annual Youth Chamber Music Competition to encourage young music students to participate in chamber music ensembles. The competition is open to chamber ensembles consisting of Santa Cruz County and Santa Clara County(*) student musicians (Santa Clara County student musicians are admitted on a space-available basis). To participate, a competition entry form must be submitted on behalf of each group.

This year’s competition will be held at Saturday, April 20, 2024, at United Methodist Church, 250 California St. Competition appointments can be scheduled by submitting an application. Monetary awards of $500, $300, and $200 will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ensembles respectively, to be divided equally among ensemble members. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ensembles, and honorable mentions at our discretion will perform at our Emerging Artists Showcase on May 5, 2024 at Holy Cross Church in Santa Cruz. Attendance and performance at the Showcase is required in order to receive prize money.

While groups are encouraged to compete by playing Baroque and other early (pre-1750) music, the competition is also open to instrumental ensembles performing Classical, Romantic, 20th Century and 21st Century concert repertoire.

This competition has been generously supported by the David E. Kaun Fund at the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. For more information, go to

Performance Dress Guidelines

// Preferred Dress


Hair should be arranged so that it does not fall into the face while performing.

Black concert attire is appropriate.


  • Dresses or skirts knee length or longer, or dressy slacks. (Skirts shorter than knee length should be accompanied by tights.)
  • Blouses or shirts completely covering midriff when performing.
  • Dress shoes (no athletic shoes or flip-flops).
  • Pianists: Try out shoes with piano pedals beforehand.


  • Collared dress shirt, dress slacks and nice shoes. Coat and tie welcome.
  • No athletic shoes or flip-flops.

**Dress guidelines apply to all Santa Cruz County Branch performances, including Certificate of Merit events.

// Not allowed

T-shirts, shorts, athletic team jerseys, jeans, bare midriffs, exposed underwear, form fitting camisoles or tank tops, sloppy slide-on shoes including flip-flops.

We reserve the right to ask inappropriately dressed students not to perform.

Concert Etiquette

  • Plan to arrive a little early – allow more than enough time to find parking.
  • Sit quietly while others perform.
  • Performers should acknowledge the audience’s applause with a bow and smile before and after performing.
  • PLAN TO STAY FOR THE ENTIRE RECITAL — if you must leave early, sit near the exit and leave between pieces.

  • Parents, be prepared to take noisy younger siblings outside.