Kiera Wilkinson awarded the 2021 the Frank J. Farina Jr. Award for Musical Excellence

We are excited to announce our 2021 Award for Musical Excellence winner- Kiera Wilkinson of North Allegheny Senior High School.

Kiera, originally from Boston, MA began playing the trombone in fourth grade. Although an uncommon instrument selection for an elementary aged student Kiera quickly fell in love with it. Kiera continued her musical pursuit when her family relocated to Pittsburgh, PA landing in the competitive North Allegheny School District. Throughout her high school career Kiera became the marching drum major, established both a jazz funk and jazz big band group with her music peers, and participated in the Pittsburgh Youth Concert Orchestra, and the North Allegheny Spring Musical Orchestra among other endeavors. Kiera plans to continue her musical aspirations by studying music education in college. When asked about her plans after college Kiera said: “My plan is to become a high school band director. In this job I also hope to be able to direct the marching band or jazz band. Such ensembles are what brought me my love for music, and I want to be able to share my love for music and learning with the next generation of musicians.”


Futen Wang Awarded the 2020 Frank J. Farina Jr. Award for Musical Excellence

Futen Wang is the winner of the 2020 Frank J. Farina Jr. Award for Musical Excellence at North Allegheny Senior High School.

Futen Wang is a “World-class musician. He is a bright, gifted and enthusiastic, learner. He is an amazing self-starter,” said Chris Ruffolo, Futen’s gifted facilitator at North Allegheny High School. Futen has participated in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s “Hear and Now” that immerses students in both front-of-the house and back-of- the house symphony experiences. He studied sound at a local radio station and interned with a Luthier to learn the process of violin making and bow repair. Futen plays in a string quartet, but also studies piano, and plays in chamber ensembles. He is a member of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra (PYSO), has won the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra Concerto Competition, and completed an apprenticeship in orchestral conducting at Duquesne University.

Futen plans to continue his studies with a focus in Music Psychology blending his vast experience and knowledge of music with cognitive and behavioral therapy techniques.

Roshie Xing Awarded the 2019 Frank J. Farina Jr. Award for Musical Excellence

Roshie Xing is the recipient of the NA Foundation’s 2019 Frank J. Farina Jr. Award for Musical Excellence at North Allegheny Senior High School.

Although she has played the piano since age 5, it was only by chance that Roshie Xing took up the flute. The summer before fifth grade, her flute-playing cousin handed Roshie her old, battered instrument and, after hours of futilely blowing with nothing to show for it but a headache, she finally made a sound and was transfixed. Since those fateful days, Roshie has attended various PMEA festivals, played flute in the NASH spring musical pit orchestra, and been a member of the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra for 3 years. She was also the concerto competition winner and featured soloist for TRYPO’s spring 2019 concert. Outside of the concert hall, Roshie can be found negotiating nuclear disarmament as the captain of her school’s Model UN team, frantically typing her next piece as a politics/current events columnist for her school’s student newspaper, scribbling down poetry verses, lobbying for legislation as a student ambassador for the NGO Save the Children, or just curled up with a good book. She intends to study mathematical economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Chris Fedor Awarded the 2018 Frank J. Farina Jr. Award for Musical Excellence

Chris Fedor is the recipient of the NA Foundation’s 2018  Frank J. Farina Jr. Award for Musical Excellence at North Allegheny Senior High School.

“This was the work that Mr. Farina did — to showcase his goodwill toward others throughout our community, the United States, and Europe. Mr. Farina was also the founder of the now-named Pittsburgh Philharmonic in which I recently won their annual concerto competition, playing the Dvoák cello concerto in B minor. I am proud, honored, and humbled that the Farina family chose me to be this year’s recipient of this prestigious award,” he said.

Chris will double major in bio-chemistry and cello performance at Northwestern University.

A senior at North Allegheny High School, Chris currently studies cello with Katya Janpoladyan and David Premo. Chris began his cello studies with Ms. Janpoladyan in the fall of 2011 and has since won multiple cello performance awards, including three awards with the Pittsburgh Concert Society – one for solo cello in 2016 and two for chamber ensembles in 2017. He has also had master classes with Mikhail Istomin, Fred Sherry, and Jeffrey Solow.  Recently, Chris was named a finalist for the 2018 Duquesne Young Artists National Concerto Competition.

Before he began playing cello, Chris studied piano with Marina Lupinacci from the age of five and later, jazz piano with Ron Bickel.  His piano achievements led him to win the Steinway Society of Western PA Young Artist awards in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Chris is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra (principal/co-principal), the Amadeus Quintet (winner of the 2017/2018 Montgomery Fellowship Award), and the Arioso Piano Trio.  He was also a member of the All-National Honor Symphony Orchestra (Grapevine, Texas), All-East Division Conference Honors Orchestra (principal), the Well-Tempered Piano Trio, the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras, the Pittsburgh Symphony EQT Student Side-by-Side orchestra, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association orchestras, the North Allegheny High School Chamber Orchestra (principal), the North Allegheny Golden Strolling Strings (cello and piano), and the North Allegheny High School musical pit orchestra (principal).

In addition to music, Chris enjoys playing baseball and has been a catcher for eight years.  Some of his other hobbies include chess, running, and science bowl.  He has received several scholastic awards, including the National Honor Society, Junior Honor Society, and the President’s Education Award for outstanding academic excellence.  In college, Chris plans to double major in biochemistry and cello performance.

Music in Your Neighborhood – Johnstonbaugh

Back in December 2017, the Farina Foundation was proud to provide funding to five local music organizations. Here’s how these funds keep giving back to music in your community!

Johnstonbaugh Music Centers used their Farina Foundation Funding to provide two $250 Inspired Music Students Scholarships. These scholarships were awarded at the conclusion of the JMC Open House, Saturday, March 24th 2018 at the New JMC Allison Park location!

Students up through high school were invited to create a video 2-3 minutes in length that demonstrated the impact of music in their life. Students were encouraged to get creative and show what makes music special!

All entries were tagged on Facebook with #MakeMusicWithJMC. With so many fantastic applications, the decision was difficult. However, the two Farina Foundation Scholarships were awarded to Katie Summer, 10th Grade at Cyber School (Piano,Guitar, Bass Guitar, and Vocalist) and Sean Anderson, 6th Grade at Pine Richland (Percussion).

See their winning videos on Facebook and learn about how music has inspired them.


Winning Entries:

Katie Summer

Sean Anderson


Stay tuned for exclusive interviews with the winners!



Music in Your Neighborhood – Brighton Music Center

Back in December 2017, the Farina Foundation was proud to provide funding to five local music organizations. Here’s how these funds keep giving back to music in your community!


Brighton Music Center has used their grant to provide students with instruments and lessons. Emily Fletcher, 6th grader Woodland Hills, received a donated saxophone and Allicia Broyard, sophomore at Gateway School District, a donated flute. Both instruments were refurbished courtesy of Brighton Music Center.


Emily Fletcher and Allicia Broyard were on hand Saturday, March 3, 2018, at Brighton Music Center, to receive instruments donated by the Farina Foundation. The instruments were collected as part of the effort to give deserving students the tools they need to move forward in their musical endeavors. Brighton Music refurbished the instruments and chose the recipients. Director Lora Hertrick of Woodland Hills and James M. Hoeltje of Gateway High School nominated their students for their awards. They wrote heart felt letters giving the reasons they believed these students deserved the donations of the instruments. Emily was awarded the saxophone. She is a sixth grader who also plays the clarinet and piano. Ms. Hertrick proclaimed Emily as a leader in the band and in the classroom. Emily is enthusiastic about learning and guarantees that she will make great use of her new instrument. Allicia is a senior at Gateway High School and a member of the Gateway Wind Ensemble. She has been using two flutes to practice and perform. Neither instrument was in good working order. Her determination and talent are the reasons Mr. Hoeltje nominated Allicia to receive her refurbished flute. The Farina Foundation is thrilled that these two deserving students were chosen to receive these instruments and wish them all the best in their musical triumphs. These gifts would not be possible without the wonderful donations of former students of music. The Farina Foundation accepts all used instruments from donors to be refurbished and presented to those most deserving.

Photos from the award reception.

Website Launch!

North Allegheny Tiger Band

North Allegheny Band Days, 1975-1981

Look out, we’re coming though! The Farina Foundation is on the move and online! Watch here for important updates as we get things up and marching!