By Cameron Siefkes
Staff reporter

She says that fear might have been what helped her learn how to play piano. Starting at age six she learned how to play from a teacher who would strike her hand with a metal bar for each missed note.

Joanna Woon, music junior, won the Talent Search competition. The competition was used as a way to raise funds for the Marquee Theatre in downtown Winfield. Competitors had four chances to make it to the finals, which took place on Aug. 30. If they were the audience’s or judge’s choice they advanced to the final round.

Woon was the judge’s choice back in April. She practices every day, but only had 30 minutes to do so right before her performance. Woon claims that time is when her nerves kick in. She said, “I have to talk to people a lot. I can’t sit still because I freak out really bad.” One of her supporters backstage was Genaye Domenico, marine biology junior. She and a few others told Woon she would for sure win.

For this performance she played and sang to “Pulangkan” and “Gravity.” Domenico said, “Her first song was in Malay and although the audience couldn’t understand the exact meaning of the words, the music rose above the language barrier. Her second song was an American one, and it was equally beautiful.”

Domenico was proud of Woon’s performance. “I think the crowd was blown away to see such strong, powerful talent radiating off of that tiny girl,” said Domenico.

Woon says she did not expect to win the $1000 prize. “When they were announcing I stood at the back because I didn’t want to be in the way,” she said. She hopes to save the money in order to buy a new car.

Timothy Shook, professor of music, is Woon’s instructor. He learned of her win when David Gardner, director of choirs, announced it during A Cappella Choir rehearsal. Shook said, “I was thrilled. Her playing is beautiful, she has a great work ethic, and she deserves any recognition she receives.”

Cameron Siefkes is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at