Thirteeen-year-old Omak student will perform at state music conference

Poncé the winner of the Okanogan County Music Teachers Association State Recital Competition performs June 26.

Daniel Poncé with his music teacher Roz Nau of Tonasket. He has taken lessons from Nau, with the Okanogan County Music Teachers Association, for the last year. Laura Knowlton/staff photo

Daniel Poncé, 13, of Omak, the winner of the Okanogan County Music Teachers Association State Recital Competition, will perform next week at the Washington State Music Teacher Association Conference (WSMTAC), Monday, June 26.

This year’s annual WSMTA Conference will be held at Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop, from June 26-28.

Other winners include Lydia Thompson, Alternate; Violet Thompson and Evelyn Sheller, Honorable Mentions.

Poncé will perform “Waltz in A Minor” by Frederic Chopin at the state conference. Lydia Thompson would be called on to play if Daniel were to become unavailable.

Poncé was chosen by Dr. Jody Graves, Eastern Washington University piano professor, to perform at the conference which will be held at Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop, at 3 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend the event. Friends, family, music lovers and residents of Okanogan County are all invited to be there.

“I’m excited about winning, I never thought I would win. I thought my piece wasn’t that special,” said Poncé.

Poncé said the person who really helped direct him in the right direction was his neighbor Rosalyn Crane, aka “Nana.” She taught him a little of what she knew and really encouraged him to keep playing and to seek out an instructor.

His interest in music began when Poncé was just five years old.

“It all started when I wanted an electric keyboard. The keyboard had all of these songs. I said to myself, ‘ I kind of want to learn these songs.’ I started playing with one hand. I asked my mom if I could get piano lessons.

At eight years old he started taking piano lessons from Miss Sparks, his Omak Elementary Music teacher. He also became involved with her marimba group called Mad Mallets. When she moved away, he turned to online lessons for a year given by a teacher in the Tri-Cities area with whom he increased his repertoire and technical skills.

Poncé has taken lessons from Roz Nau in Tonasket, where he has studied music for the past year.

“I’m thinking I want to play music throughout my whole life. I would like to get a job playing piano for weddings,” said Poncé.

Besides music, Poncé loves soccer and basketball.

He said practice is the most important part of learning music.

For kids who are thinking about picking up an instrument, Poncé encourages them to remember they are just beginning, not to get discouraged, and it’s worth the practice.

“The more you practice, the better you get,” said Poncé.

The event will include performances from guest artists, workshops, and State Honors Recitals. For more information regarding the event visit