Prestigious National Paderewski Piano Gold Medal Awarded to Local Teenagers


The National Guild of Piano Teachers has a special award, “The Paderewski Gold Medal,” named after Polish pianist and composer, Ignacy Jan Paderewski. It is presented to a musician who memorizes and masters 10 pieces of music and musicianship phases each year through 10 years and performs these programs in the annual National Playing Auditions for National Guild judges.

Teens Piano Gold MedalReceiving the Paderewski Gold Medal award for 2023 are Andrew Roberts, 16, from Niceville and Joseph Savoie, 15, from Santa Rosa Beach. Steven Savoie, 18, from Santa Rosa Beach, received the award after the 2022 Auditions. Andrew is a Junior at Niceville High School, Joseph is a Sophomore, who is home schooled, and Steven is a Senior, dual-enrolled at Northwest Florida State College. All have been piano students of Loretta Hake in Niceville for over a decade.

In recognition of their achievements, all three young men received a gold medal from the American College of Musicians/National Guild of Piano Teachers and their name, photo, and achievements are published in the Guild’s International Magazine, “Piano Guild Notes.” This award recognizes their hard work, perseverance and many hours of practice dedicated to developing their skills and talents.

These young men have learned that they can accomplish great goals as they put forth the hours of practice. But, they also would like to recognize that they could not have accomplished their goals without the tutelage, mentorship and instruction of their master piano teacher, Loretta Hake. Mrs. Hake is a jewel in the Niceville music community, having had many of her current and former students receiving this prestigious award, winning local, state and national competitions, and many continuing on to become professional musicians. Even with so much to celebrate with her student’s accomplishments over many decades, her greatest achievement as a teacher is providing an atmosphere of learning where the students feel loved and feel that the best part about music-making and performing piano is sharing what is in their hearts.