Richard C. and Joann M. Hemp Award

The Richard C. and Joann M. Hemp Family Prize for Orchestra Performance is given annually to a senior member of the Luther College Symphony Orchestra. The $7,500 scholarship is funded through an endowment established from Richard '64 and Joann (Harr) Hemp '65. Richard is a regent emeritus, former chair of the Luther Board of Regents, and former Interim President of Luther College. Selection of recipients is made through an audition process. The prize awards students of exceptional performance, talent, musicianship and leadership. Luther College is pleased to announce Isabella Searcy as the recipient of the 2020 Richard C. and Joann M. Hemp Award.

Isabella (Belle) Searcy grew up in Buffalo, Minnesota, and started violin in sixth grade at the age of 12. She chose the violin because she thought that only smart people could play violin, and she wanted to be smart! The size of the violin also impacted her decision, as she walked to and from school each day. Since choosing the violin, Belle has learned to love the instrument for different reasons, and she cannot imagine her life without it.

While in high school, Belle had the chance to play in many orchestras including the Buffalo High School Orchestra, the Minnesota Youth Honors Orchestra, the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony, the Buffalo Community Orchestra, the Monticello Community Orchestra, the Concordia Honors String Orchestra, and several pit orchestras. She studied the violin privately with Rachel Vannett and Marion Judish. Belle also attended the Upper Midwest Strings Camp and the St. Thomas String Day Camp.

At Luther, Belle studies the violin with Dr. Igor Kalnin. She is in her fourth year as a member of the Luther College Chamber Orchestra and the Luther College Symphony Orchestra, both under the direction of Dr. Daniel Baldwin. She is in her second year of serving as the Concertmaster for both of these ensembles.

Luther College has provided many enriching musical experiences for Belle including the 2019 Symphony Orchestra Vienna Residency and the International Music Festival of the Adriatic. Belle holds a work study position in the Luther College Music Department, transcribing music into braille.

After college, Belle plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Masters in Violin Performance. After grad school, she is interested in being a studio musician for orchestral film scores, or a back-up violinist for singers.