FARMINGTON — San Juan College's Fine Arts Committee is accepting applications for one of the area's most prestigious youth arts competitions.

About 15 musicians, vocalists, dancers or actors from the Four Corners area will be selected to perform in the recital set for 7 p.m. March 2 in the Henderson Fine Arts Center Performance Hall. Applications are being accepted until Feb. 6.

As the committee's 27th annual Young Artists Recital approaches, co-chairs Cathy Pope and Sharon Brink said are eagerly anticipating seeing the area's talent on stage once again.

"The Fine Arts Committee's purpose is to advance the arts in the community via the college," Pope said. "The idea (behind the recital) was that there weren't a lot of opportunities for youth to perform. It gives them something to work for in their lessons."

In previous years, the recital has featured performers from Aztec, Bloomfield, Farmington, Shiprock, Flora Vista, Kirtland, Bayfield, Dolores, Durango, Mancos and other cities around the Four Corners. Participants must be between 10 and 21 years old as of Feb. 1.

This year's audition cycle will feature a special treat, Pope said.

Paul Posnak, a classical and jazz pianist known for his reconstructions of solo improvisations by George Gershwin, Thomas "Fats" Waller and Jelly Roll Morton, will be holding a free master class on Feb. 16 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The public is invited to attend.

In addition to performing, youth auditioning for the recital will have an opportunity to play for Posnak.

"I'm so excited," Brink said. "Just a few students will be able to play (for Posnak), but everyone's going to learn."

The recital offers more to area youth than an opportunity to audition and perform for a crowd and judges, she said.

"There's a bit of camaraderie," Brink said. "They can see what the other (youth) are doing."

Although most performances are dance, instrumental or vocal, the recital is also open to dramatic readings.

"We've hardly ever had one, but that would be wonderful," Brink said. "I have been doing this probably 15 years There's always been remarkable talent. I'm at the point where I'm wondering what's going to happen. There's always a surprise."

Recital applications are available from Donna Ellis at Room 1628 of the Student Center Building at the college's main campus, or from area music teachers.

For more information, contact Cathy Pope at 505-326-2737, or Sharon Brink at 505-326-7636.