Press Release – Twenty-Two Music Students Score Nation's Best in MENC: The National Association for Music Education's 2008 Call for Original Student Compositions

Twenty-Two Music Students Score Nation’s Best in MENC: The National Association for Music Education’s 2008 Call for Original Student Compositions


Performances of the Selected Student Compositions to Highlight the MENC 61st National Biennial Conference


RESTON, VA (January 14, 2008) — MENC: The National Association for Music Education is showcasing 22 compositions by elementary-through university-level students from across the United States in its 2008 Student Composition Talent Search. Selected from four categories including piano, solo (instrumental or vocal), small ensemble (instrumental or vocal), and large ensemble (band, orchestra, or chorus), the musical masterpieces will be presented by these accomplished students during the Young Composer Concerts at MENC’s 61st National Biennial In-Service Conference in Milwaukee, WI, in April 2008. In addition, each composer will receive a prize package from Sibelius.

Established in 1990, MENC’s nationwide call for original student compositions exists to recognize talented young composers. These exceptional students and their musical creations will be showcased before professional music educators at special conference performances.

Every other year, MENC selects compositions that are the best representative works from its six divisions (Eastern, North Central, Northwest, Southern, Southwestern, and Western) in the elementary/middle school, high school, and undergraduate/graduate levels. Applicants submit original musical scores and accompanying audio recordings of the works, not to exceed five minutes, along with their resumes and written application forms for review by a national committee.

This year’s winning compositions will be presented to thousands of music educators at the MENC National Conference during special Young Composers Concerts. Performances featuring band and orchestral works will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 10, and those featuring choral and solo instrumental compositions will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, April 11. Young Composers Concerts are open to the public.

Works from the following students were selected to be performed at the conference:

Seven students representing MENC’s Eastern Division: Madeleine Vaillancourt of Gelinas Junior High School in Setauket New York, Daniel Deutsch, teacher; Alina Jeon of Williamsville East High School in East Amherst, New York, Stephen Shewan, teacher; Nicholas McConnell of Woodland Elementary School in Warren, New Jersey, David Gordon, teacher; Gloria Zheng of Robert Cushman Murphy Junior High in Stony Brook, New York, Daniel Deutsch, teacher; Karen Christianson of The Episcopal Academy in Merion, Pennsylvania, Joanne Ward, teacher; Emmanuel Sikora of Cortland Junior Senior High School in Cortland, New York, Julie Carr, teacher; and Anne Polyakov of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, New York, Daniel Deutsch, teacher.

Six students representing MENC’s North Central Division: Lauren Hayes of Fort Atkinson High School in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Thomas Cook, teacher; Aron Frank of West Lafayette High School in West Lafayette, Indiana, Judd Danby, teacher; Aaron Hays of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, Steven Eggleston, teacher; K. Alexander Blanton of the University of Missouri; Columbia in Columbia, Missouri, Wendy Sims, teacher; Emily Cooley of the University School of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dain Shuler, teacher; and Whitaker Blackall of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

Three students representing MENC’s Southern Division: Nathan Hudson of Milton High School in Milton, Georgia, Ryan Borger, teacher; Andres Ballesteros of Southwest Guilford High School in High Point, North Carolina, Kiyoshi Carter, teacher; and Jeremey McMillan of the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama, Gary Packwood, teacher.

Three students representing MENC’s Southwestern Division: Kevin Hartnett of Lee’s Summit High School in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Paul Morales, teacher; Benjamin Balleau of Wichita Heights High School in Wichita, Kansas, Mark Walker, teacher; and Daniel Baldwin of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, Frank Tracz, teacher.

One student representing MENC’s Western Division: Gregory Mills of Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona, Scott Burgener, teacher.

Two students representing MENC’s Northwestern Division: Eric Solms McElroy of Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington, John Grabowski, teacher; and Logan Anderson of Blackfoot High School in Blackfoot, Idaho, Jan Eddington, teacher.

For more information call 1-800-336-3768 or visit

MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the world’s largest arts education organization, marked its centennial in 2007 as the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. More than 130,000 members represent all levels of teaching from preschool to graduate school. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC’s activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education.