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When the Children's Concert Society picked its winners for its Scholastic Composers Contest recently a Hudson family claimed two of the top awards.
Sisters Elizabeth Siyu Chen and Margaret Ziyao Chen, along with Hudson students Isabelle Gurzenski and Patrick Custy, earned top honors for their original musical piano compositions. They and 17 other area students performed their original work last month in a free concert at Akron's Kenmore High School.
The sisters are the daughters of Ann Yuheng Du and Peter Huaiyu Chen.
Their mother said the girls spend 15 to 20 minutes practicing their music each day, but then they sometimes sit for another hour making their own music.
"My husband and I think whatever they are interested in -- as long as the time is manageable -- we will support them," she said.
Margaret Chen, 8, said she has loved music since she was able to talk.
"My mom told me when I as able to talk, I loved to sing and was able to remember all the lyrics," Margaret said.
She said she began to have an interest in piano when she was 3 after her family got a keyboard.
"One day my parents' friends visited us and I watched her play on the keyboard and I asked my mom when I could start to take piano lessons," she said.
When Margaret was 4 1/2 she started taking lessons. She was 6 when she started to compose music.
She credits her piano teacher, Mary Ann Griebling, with getting her interested in composing music.
"She is a wonderful teacher. She gave me a lot of inspiration," Margaret said.
She said she felt "great" when she played her original composition, "Dorian Dance," at the Concert Society's recital.
Margaret, a second grader at Ellsworth Elementary School, is also interested in dance and tennis.
Her sister, Elizabeth Chen, 6, is in kindergarten at Evamere Elementary.
She said when she was just three she began watching her big sister practice piano every day.
"Once she was done, I climbed up the bench and started my practice," Elizabeth recalled.
Elizabeth was also 4 1/2 when she started taking piano lessons, also with Griebling.
"The Blooming Flower (the concert society winner) is my first music piece," she said.
Elizabeth said she was very nervous when she played her original composition at the recital in Akron.
In addition to piano, Elizabeth said she is interested in dance, art and tennis.
"The girls have natural talent and are hard workers," Griebling said. "They also have a supportive mother and father."