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MPS musicians receive top honors

Natalija Walker

The Wisconsin School Music Association’s annual Solo & Ensemble Festivals are the highlight of the year for student musicians. At the district level, student vocalists and instrumentalists strive to advance to the state level. At the state festival, gold medals are the top prize. What could be better than a gold medal?

“At State, judges are allowed to nominate students they thought were the best of the State festival,” explained Milena Walker from Riverside High School. “From those nominations, they select students for Exemplary Performances. These are the best of the best – a huge honor.”

This year, a total of 12 solos and ensembles were named Exemplary Performances by judges at the state level.

Milwaukee High School of the Arts

Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Ronald Reagan High School

Lauren Barta – Alto Vocal Solo

Casimir Riley – Eflat Baritone Saxophone Solo

Kaitlyn Rian – Trumpet Solo

Alexander Walker – Broadway Vocal Solo

Natalija Walker – Soprano Vocal Solo

Madrigal Vocal Ensemble

Riverside University High School

Ty'Johnna Gardner - Broadway Vocal Solo

Morgan Kruger - Soprano Vocal Solo

Rufus King IB High School

Mystique Evans – Cello Solo

Maya Grosser and Josue Koenig  – Violin Duet

Emma Shenkenberg – Oboe Solo

A standout among these honorees is Natalija Walker, who earned exemplary recognition four years in a row for her vocal solo. “I have not heard of any students winning that many times in the entire state,” said Walker. “This is an amazing achievement.”

MPS students are enjoying expanded access to arts programs this year during the MPS Year of the Arts. Congratulations to these dedicated, talented musicians!

Photo: Natalija Walker

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Milwaukee Public Schools is committed to accelerating student achievement, building positive relationships between youth and adults and cultivating leadership at all levels. The district’s commitment to improvement continues to show results:

  • More MPS students are taking college-level Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses;
  • The MPS Class of 2018 earned $86+ million in scholarships; and
  • MPS is home to seven of the state and nation’s top high schools according to U.S. News and World Report and the Washington Post.

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