Four MHS students receive UW scholarship offers
Four Middleton High School students received scholarship offers earlier this summer after attending a music clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Liza Couser (soprano), Michael Hoot (alto sax), Rebecca Jin (violin) and Sonia Urquidi (clarinet) all received four-year tuition waivers to UW-Madison or UW-Milwaukee, MHS band director and music department coordinator teacher Brad Schneider said.
“This shows how great Middleton High School’s music department is,’’ said Urquidi, who offered special thanks to Schneider, Steve Kurr and her own private teacher, Vlad Gorbich.
Schneider said about five to seven MHS students have received this scholarship offer over the past 10 years. Students must apply to the attend camp and approximately 400 students attend the camp each year. Only students that are between their junior and senior years are eligible to audition for the scholarships.
“I was really excited,’’ Hoot said. “I put a lot of work into that audition, and so it was great to see that pay off, especially since I knew I was competing with a lot of great musicians.’’
“I was surprised and honored to be selected for the scholarship,’’ Couser said. “All of the applicants were extremely talented, and I was thrilled that so many Middleton students received the scholarship. It's such a tribute to all of the MHS music programs. I couldn't be happier for both myself and my friends.’’
“I was ecstatic,’’ Urquidi said. “I know that Madison offers a great education in many fields, including music, the sciences, and engineering. Being awarded the scholarship proved to me that if I focus and work hard, I have the talent to reach my goals.
“Once I found out that three of my friends had also gotten the scholarship, I was even more excited. Before the final round of auditions, Liza and I had imagined what it would be like if all four of us received the scholarship. I can’t believe that became a reality!”
The preliminaries occurred on the opening Sunday with about 85 students auditioning, Schneider said. The finals are held on Wednesday before a panel of UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee music professors.
“Though we have had students receive the scholarships in the past, it is unprecedented to have four of the 10 winners from one school,’’ Schneider said. “Sonia, Mike, Rebecca, and Liza have worked hard but have received a lot of support from their parents and community as well.’’
Recipients must be academically eligible for UW acceptance. During their time at UW, they must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average and perform in one of the major performance organizations of band, orchestra or choir.
Urquidi said she plans to accept the scholarship if she is accepted at UW-Madison. Hoot and Couser said they haven’t decided if they will accept the scholarship. Both plan to visit a few other schools before making a decision. Jin didn’t respond to e-mails about her plans.
This isn’t the only honor the students have earned this year, Schneider said. All four received “Exemplary Soloist Awards” at the State Solo & Ensemble Festival this spring at UW-Platteville. Urquidi was a concerto winner and featured soloist with the MHS Orchestra in March, while Hoot and Urquidi also received Allegro Music Club Scholarships to attend the Summer Music Clinic.
Several students also qualified for state honors ensembles:
- Sonia Urquidi (clarinet) in the Wisconsin State Honors Orchestra.
- Chance Stine (alto sax) in the Wisconsin State Honors Band.
- Nikhil Trivedi (clarinet) in the Wisconsin State Honors Band.
- Jordan Foster (trumpet) in the Wisconsin State Honors Orchestra.
- Virginia Wagner (harpist) in the Wisconsin State Honors Orchestra.
- Jody Oetel (flute) Wisconsin State Honors Band.
- Matt Ash (bass trombone) in the Wisconsin State Honors Jazz Ensemble.
These students attended four-day sessions at UW-Green Bay. In October they will reconvene with their ensembles and perform at the Overture Center as part of the Wisconsin Music Educators Association conference.
“I have the utmost admiration and gratitude to the Middleton High School music program,’’ said Bob Hoot, Michael’s father. “If teachers and programs are to be judged by the performance and success of their students, then Tom Mielke, Brad Schneider and Steve Kerr deserve raises and their departments budgets increased.’’