Millikin University - Decatur, IL
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The 11th annual Hollis Prize competition, featuring performances by Millikin University's top three music performing students, will be held in Kaeuper Hall inside Perkinson Music Center on Millikin's campus on Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, no reservations or tickets required. This year's finalists are sophomore Chris Raymond of Bourbonnais, Ill., and seniors Amanda Saul of Quincy, Ill., and Emily Schneider of Mascoutah, Ill.

The Hollis Prize is the highest award that may be received by a student instrumentalist or vocalist within the Millikin School of Music and was first awarded during the spring of 2003. Millikin is one of only a few schools in the country to offer this type of prestigious prize through a music competition.

"Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Kimm Hollis, the School of Music is honored and privileged to be able to feature our very best performers competing for the Hollis Prize," says Steven Widenhofer, director of the School of Music. "To be sure, all of these students are winners by just being named as finalists."

The winner of the Hollis Prize is chosen by outside faculty judges and receives a substantial monetary award in addition to a recital performance in Chicago. This year's recital performance will be held Friday, April 12 at 12:15 p.m. at the Harold Washington Library Auditorium, which is housed in the Chicago Public Library's central library.

The annual competition is made possible by Dr. C. Kimm Hollis, a 1972 Millikin graduate who is department chair and professor of music at Hanover College in Hanover, Ind.

The Finalists

Christopher Raymond – bassoon

Christopher Raymond is a Millikin sophomore, majoring in instrumental music education. A graduate of Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School in Bourbonnais, Ill., Raymond has played bassoon since 2006. Throughout his high school years, Raymond performed with the Illinois Music Educator's Association's All-State Honors Orchestra and also was featured as a soloist with the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra.

At Millikin, he plays with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and the Eidolon Woodwind Quintet. Additionally, he is principal bassoon of Millikin's Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Urbana Pops Orchestra. Raymond is a recipient of Millikin's Young Artists Award and was featured in February as a soloist with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national association for music educators, as well as Alpha Lambda Delta, an academic honors fraternity. He has received recognition from Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society for outstanding achievement. At Millikin, Chris has studied bassoon with Dr. Mark Avery, associate professor of music, and is currently a student of Beth Shoemaker. After graduation, Raymond hopes to teach music at the high school level and eventually return to graduate school to study performance.

Emily Schneider – flute

Emily Schneider is a senior flute and vocal performance double major from Mascoutah, Ill. At Millikin, she has had many opportunities to perform in both areas. She was a member of Chamber Chorale for two years and the Wind Ensemble for four years — two of which she has served as principal flute. Schneider has also enjoyed performing with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and looks forward to playing principal flute in an upcoming concert.

She has been a part of Millikin's Opera Theatre, playing the role of Fortuno in “L'incoronazione di Poppea,” Cybele in “Orpheus and the Underworld,” Climene in “Le Malade Imaginaire” and was a soprano soloist in J.S. Bach's cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen.” For two summers, Schneider participated in the New Brunswick Early Music Festival. She began studying flute and piano in grade school, then continued with Robert Howard, conductor of the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra. For two summers, Schneider had the privilege of attending a seminar conducted by Bernard Z. Goldberg, principal flutist of the Pittsburgh Symphony for 46 years. Schneider currently studies with Dr. Laurie Glencross, associate professor of music.

She is a member of Pi Beta Phi, a James Millikin Scholar, music coordinator for Millikin's Newman Catholic Community and a member of the honorary societies Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Kappa Phi. She has received Millikin's Young Artist Award, Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honors Society Outstanding Sophomore Award, the Dr. Maria Klott Memorial Award and Millikin's Scovill Prize. After Millikin, Schneider plans to pursue a degree in library and information science with an emphasis in music to become a music librarian.

Amanda Saul – vocalist

Amanda Saul of Quincy, Ill., is currently a Millikin senior majoring in vocal performance. Her primary passion is opera, where she has played roles such as Papagena in "The Magic Flute," Eurydice in "Orpheus in the Underworld," Flora in "Le Malade Imaginaire," and most recently Liesl in "The Coffee Cantata."

Saul sung with the Quincy Symphony orchestra as a young artist, is a recipient of the Young Artist Scholarship and was awarded first place in the Sigma Alpha Iota Scholarship audition. She has performed with the Millikin University Choir in Ireland, Scotland, England, and most recently in the U.S. Southwest. She is the current soprano section leader for the University Choir as well as Tudor Voices. This past summer, she traveled to St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, to participate in the New Brunswick Early Music Festival coordinated by Dr. Daniel Carberg, associate professor of music, and Matthew Leese, instructor of music. After graduation, Saul plans to attend graduate school after spending time teaching, taking private lessons and developing her abilities as a performer.

Millikin's School of Music is committed to developing complete musicians artistically, technically and intellectually by emphasizing the integration of theory and practice with other disciplines across the University.

For more information on the Hollis Prize Competition, please contact the Millikin School of Music at 217.424.6300 or visit
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL