Young Artists Competition

This fall, the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra will invite young artists to submit applications to audition for the Mason Young Artists Competition. A select number of applicants will be invited to audition before a panel of judges. Competition winner(s) will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship and will perform with the LSO during the March 5, 2022 concert. The competition is funded by the Beth Mason Young Artists Endowment Fund within GiveWell Community Foundation.


Artists in high school (grade 9+) or college (undergraduate or graduate)

Polk County residents or enrolled in a Polk County school

Voice, piano, strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion

Instrumentalists must submit an unedited video recording of themselves performing one complete movement of the work proposed for performance with piano accompaniment.

Vocalists must submit an unedited video recording of themselves performing two complete arias with piano accompaniment.

The work(s) must be composed for soloist and symphony or string orchestra, in original key and/or language (unless changed by concert tradition).

Applicants selected to audition in person on January 29, 2022 will be notified by January 17, 2022.

Beth Mason

As an educator and civic leader, “Miss Beth’s” commitment to providing musical education and experience for youth has led to countless opportunities for children and youth to succeed.

She is known as “Mother Music” for her gracious musical influence on several generations on Lakelanders; however, Beth Mason is a long-time champion of Polk County’s entire arts community. “If there is an art event in Polk County, Beth Mason will attend it,” says Rob Tate, Vice-President of External Relations at Florida Southern College. Friend Patti Foster echoes, “She goes to everything and loves every minute.”

Mason is well-known locally for her arts advocacy as a board member and executive director of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, board member of the Polk Museum of Art and president of Friends of the Museum, member of the Florida Southern College Fine Arts committee, and supporter of the Harrison School for the Arts. When former State Representative Seth McKeel was a Lakeland city commissioner, he recalls turning to “Miss Beth” for help determining how the City should invest in the arts.

Over the years, Mason has stepped into the executive director and development role at the ISO when needed, and she continues to be a strong supporter. McKeel notes he agreed to take on the ISO presidency – twice – when asked by Mason. As Foster said,

Beth exudes a special passion for music, which draws others in.”

Mason’s advocacy extended to the statewide level when, in 1999, she was appointed to the Florida Arts Council to advise the Secretary of State on arts spending and cultural affairs. In 2002, she was elected chairman of the Council.  During her tenure, Mason hosted a regional meeting of the Florida Arts Council in Polk County, which was not an easy task, according to Foster, who had previously served on the Council. “Beth got them to Lakeland and wowed them with visits to Bok Tower, FSC, and other gems in our community,” she noted.

In 2015, Lakeland’s Harrison School for the Arts recognized Mason as an inaugural inductee in their Hall of Fame for her passionate support of the school. She is known to have helped many students pursue college scholarships.

But without fail, Mason’s friends point to her years of teaching piano lessons to Lakeland’s youth as her most direct and lasting impact on the arts. “She instilled a love of music in so many children and in their parents and grandparents,” said Foster. One of those students was Seth McKeel, and he fondly recalls her lessons in piano, gentlemanly behavior, and life. While Mason is often called “Mother Music,” he says “To me, she’s ‘Miss Beth’ and my dear friend and mentor.”

“The arts in our community, the arts in the State of Florida, and frankly, generations of ladies and gentlemen in Lakeland owe their successes to the investment made in them by Beth Mason,” said McKeel. “We are right to honor her commitment to the arts and her love for people.”

The Beth Mason

Young Artists Endowment Fund

At the close of the 2016/2017 season, the Symphony joined with the Polk Arts Alliance to present Mason with the 2017 Polk Arts Hall of Fame Award. At the same time, the Symphony’s board of directors, advisory board and Beth’s close friends partnered for one additional honor – the creation of the Beth Mason Young Artists Endowment Fund. Earnings from the endowment will provide scholarship support for the annual Young Artists Competition, and with new contributions, the fund will grow to encompass even more necessary and inspirational programs for youth.


Founding Donors

Thank you to the founding supporters of the Beth Mason Young Artists Endowment Fund!

Beth’s Children – Mr. & Mrs. Steven Barlow, Mr. & Mrs Tripp Barlow, Mr. & Mrs. Carl Walker
Beth’s Husband – Mr. Richard F. Mason
Beth’s Brother – Mr. Robert Bowden

Mrs. Liz Allen
Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Allen
Balto Investments ‐ Mr. & Mrs. Marty Higgenbotham
W.S. Badcock Corporation ‐ Mary Badcock Stiles, Michelle & Wogie Badcock
Carol and Barney Barnett Fund within GiveWell Community Foundation
Mrs. Tom Bayless
Sarah & Todd Baylis
Mr. & Mrs. Hunt Berryman
Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Blalock
Mr. & Mrs. Alex Bryant
Dr. & Mrs. Robert Buccino
Jean & David Bunch
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Buzzanca
Mr. & Mrs. Sal Campisi, Jr.
Dr. Luis Carillo, Sr.
Mr. & Mrs. William Chase
Denise & Ron Clark
Kim & Bob Cleghorn
Mrs. James Coffman
Mr. & Mrs. Don Coleman
Dr. & Mrs. Craig Collins
Gina & Wes Cowley
Denise & Ed Crenshaw
Mr. & Mrs. David Dalton
Ms. Carole Donlon
Ms. Lisa Dunson
Dr. & Mrs. Merlyn Eckelberg
Dr. & Mrs. John Ellington
Rita Fandrich
Dr. & Mrs. Ken Ferguson
Ms. Jane Finley
Mr. & Mrs. John Fitzwater
Frank & Patti Foster Fund within GiveWell Community Foundation
Mr. & Mrs. Tip Fowler
Robin and Jean Gibson Fund within GiveWell Community Foundation
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Gompf
Marty & Ed Goodemote
Deedre Daniel & Rob Guertin
Heath Funeral Chapel ‐ Caroline & Bill Schichtel
Mr. & Mrs. Clayton Hollis
Mrs. Mark Hollis
Susan & Rob Hurlburt
Mrs. Bill Jackson
George W. Jenkins Fund within GiveWell Community Foundation
Mimi Jenko
Mrs. D. Burke Kibler
Drs. Rosemarie & Edwin Lamm
Mrs. Scott Linder
Leighann & Brad Lunz

Mr. & Mrs. Tom Lyons
Mrs. Robert MacDonald
Teresa Martinez
Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Mass
Ansley & Greg Masters
Anita & Larry Maxwell
Mr. & Mrs. Trey McCarley
Mrs. Douglas McKeel
Mr. &  Mrs. Chris McLaughlin
Mrs. Richard Meland
Mrs. Fritz Mitchell
Mr. & Mrs. Peter J. Munson
Bennie Jo Murray
Mr. & Mrs. Oz Mutz
Mr. & Mrs. Nis Nissen
Margaret Parry
Sally & Tom Petcoff
Mr. & Mrs. Ray Phillips
PHR Staffing Solutions
Polk Arts Alliance
Cindy Price
Mrs. Wallace J. Quick
Dr. & Mrs. Maurice Raymond
Dr. & Mrs. Mac Reavis
Dr. Alan and Linda Rich Fund within GiveWell Community Foundation
Mr. & Mrs. Joe P. Ruthven
Mr. & Mrs. Greg Sale
SHR Human Resources, LLC ‐ Rita & Don Selvage
Sandra & Sam Sheets
Mr. & Mrs. Clark Sherwood
Mrs. Ihla Sloman
Mr. & Mrs. Wyatt F. Smith Tammy & Rob Springer
Mr. & Mrs. Kingswood Sprott
Mrs. John W. Stone
Dr. Rob Tate
Arletta & Joey Torres
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Tucker
Mrs. T.R. Tucker
Mrs. Buz Watkins
Mr. & Mrs. Chip Watkins
Mr. & Mrs. Clay Watkins
Mrs. John Watkins
Linda & Howard Wiggs
Marcy & Dave Wickenkamp
Cecelia & Ted Wilhite
Wireless Planning Services, LLC ‐ Karen Seggerman & Jim Malless
WONN/WPCV/WLKF/WWRZ Radio ‐ Bonnie & Art Rowbothan, Nancy Cattarius
Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Woodsby

The Lakeland Symphony Orchestra is committed to the high quality performance of symphonic music in order to educate, entertain and inspire audiences and enrich the lives of the people of Polk County and neighboring communities.