The Oishei Children's Hospital can rest easy now. It has found its lullaby.
On Nov. 2, the contest finals at City Honors School put to bed the search to find a new, local, performance of Brahms Lullaby to be played whenever a baby is born at the hospital. Playing the famous lullaby on such occasions is a longstanding hospital tradition.
It turns out it's hard to beat the pros.
The winner was Krista Seddon, a well-known local jazz pianist who is classically trained and plays often around town. Seddon, who is a full-time musician, won $1,500 in cash.
Her version of the lullaby is a gentle jazz improvisation with inventive harmonies.
The second place winner was Julie Arlotta, a music teacher for Starpoint Central School District. She wins an $800 gift certificate to Shea's Performing Arts Center, enough to cover two season tickets.
Arlotta's imagining of the piece was more straightforward than Seddon's. It has an original introduction and improvisatory touches, but stays closer to what Brahms wrote.
Third place, which carried with it a $200 gift card for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, went to a talented teenager, Ian Guercio. Guercio, 14, is a student at Amherst Central High School.
His take on the Brahms Lullaby, heard on an electronic piano, is the most traditional of the three -- simple, straightforward, and graceful.
Virtually all Johannes Brahms' music is rich in romance, but this lullaby in particular shows his tender side. Countless cultures around the world have adopted it, and its original German lyrics have been translated into myriad languages, including Greek and Hebrew.
The hospital will be playing Seddon's version of the lullaby starting Nov. 10.