Pratt Scholars Invited to the White House

October 29, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Pratt Music Scholars of Illinois Wesleyan University’s Preparatory Music Program have been invited to the White House on Nov. 3 and 4 to participate in activities surrounding the Classical Music Performance.  The performance is a part of the White House Music Series organized by First Lady Michelle Obama. 

Members of the community are encouraged to attend the trip’s send-off on Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.  Supporters will meet in the Bloomington-Normal Airport visitor waiting area where there will be a banner, signs, balloons and treats.  All are encouraged to wear something red, white or blue to help students identify their supporters.

While in Washington, D.C., the students will take lessons from musicians Awadagin Pratt, Joshua Bell, Alisia Weilerstein and Sharon Isbin, after which they will attend an afternoon concert at the executive residence.

Awadagin Pratt, the award-winning concert pianist with roots in Bloomington-Normal, helped arrange for the students to be invited to the event.  He founded the Pratt Foundation in 1997.  The Pratt Music Scholars are supported by funds provided by community members as well as corporate sponsor State Farm® and the foundation has raised about $200,000 to date.  These funds provide music lessons with Illinois Wesleyan music instructors through the Illinois Wesleyan Preparatory Music Program as well as make certain that the students have music and instruments as needed. 

Pratt himself will perform during a private evening performance in the East Room after giving lessons to the students in the afternoon.

The attendees will be accompanied by Erin Mulliken, IWU’s Preparatory Music Program director; Elain Vogt, Preparatory Music Program instructor; and Dennis Power, a member of the Bloomington-Normal community.

Pratt Music Scholars making the trip:

  • Morgan Schaub (9th year piano) – of Susan and Randy Kemplin family
  • Andrew Powers (6th year piano) – of Dennis and Diane Powers family
  • Zari Gary (5th year viola) – of Sharon Rice family
  • Brandon Churchill (4th year cello) – of Ed and Cindy Churchill family
  • Ryan Cavallo (4th year piano) – of Tina Penn family
  • Tess Johnson (3rd year violin) – of Nance Johnson family
  • Reyhana Pippins (3rd year piano) – of Rosario Joyce family
  • Shelby Babys (3rd year violin) – of John and Malinda Bays family
  • Haden Toohill (2nd year violin) – of Dan and Tristin Toohill family
  • Stephen Cook (2nd year cello) – of Rose Cook family
  • Mikhayla Price-Hutcherson (2nd year violin) – of Barbie Price and Roland Hutcherson family
  • Sam Birsa (2nd year strings) – of Terry and Paula Birsa family

For more information contact the Office of University Communications at (309) 556-3181.

Contact: Monica Piotrowski, (309) 556-3181