Home Arts & Culture The People of Pensacola: Guinevere Villegas

The People of Pensacola: Guinevere Villegas

Local ten-year-old to play at Carnegie Hall

Pensacola ten-year-old, Guinevere Villegas, was recently invited to play at a winners’ concert at Carnegie Hall on June 19th. Villegas won the bid after placing at the February Gulf Coast Steinway Society Competition IX.
She has been playing for seven and a half years, beginning with pre-piano instruction at age 2 in the Mommy & Me classes at Minds on Music in Gulf Breeze. Minds on Music is owned by Kelly and Thomas Koch.
The Kochs and their team use a unique approach to music instruction by implementing a split lesson plan to accelerate and clarify the process of learning music. Minds on Music offers instruction from music introduction at ages 0-3 through all ages for voice and a variety of instruments, including piano, drums, strings, and more.
Guinevere practices from one to two hours each day, five to six days per week. Mother, Bianca Villegas, says that “she still needs the nudge from time to time, but more happily gets through her practicing.”
While it is a time commitment, she still has time for other interests including ballet, and hopes to learn to play the ukelele and the bassoon. She began ballet lessons at Pensacola Ballet at age three, and her mother believes the piano lessons have, “given her a strong sense of musicality and it shows in her understanding of dance.” Somehow she still has time to sing with the Choristers at Christ Church and participates in Robojags, a coding and robotics program through her elementary school.
Between now and the competition in June, much of her time will be spent practicing the pieces she will play at Carnegie Hall, Waltz, Op. 12, No. 2 by Edvard Grieg and

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Alegretto, WoO 53 by Ludwig Van Beethoven.
In addition to playing those two pieces by memory, she was also required to memorize and play French Suite No.4 in E-Flat Major, BWV. 815: VII. Menuet by Johann Sebastian Bach for the local competition.
Playing at Carnegie Hall won’t be the only feather in her cap, as she has already won a recent International Competition by Steinway for students 7-9 and 10-12. She placed first in her category of 22 students from 7 countries. A total of 135 students from 13 countries entered the competition.
The young girl who is bright, thoughtful, and generous of spirit hopes to be a pediatric ophthalmologist when she grows up.
Her mom adds, “She understands the significance of playing the venue, but I think maturity and years will allow her to understand it on different levels as she grows older.”
Guinevere, Pensacola is proud of you and wishes you all the best at your upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall!
To enroll your child in music instruction at Minds on Music, visit their website here: https://www.mindsonmusic.net/home
Guinevere with her piano instructor, Kelly Koch of Minds on Music



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Dana is an Arkansas native and a seasonal resident of the Gulf Coast since childhood. She was a Pensacola resident for 13 years, before moving to Gulf Breeze. Dana attributes her Mayberry-esque childhood in Warren, Arkansas, as enormously influential in honing her definitely Southern style of storytelling. She earned a degree in Journalism, Advertising/Public Relations from the University of Arkansas (Woo Pig Sooie!). In addition to writing, she loves photography, art, adventures in the great outdoors, and spending time with her three children.