Young Artist Competition Winners

Each season, the MDSO offers opportunities for young artists to perform as soloists.  Millikin University holds an annual Concerto/Aria Competition from which a small group of talented musicians are selected. As part of the “Performance Learning” model at Millikin, this is an additional feature of the School of Music which allows students to learn and practice their art. 

Young artists Sarah Olbert
Sarah Olbert

Max DiPasquale

music education, Senior

I am a senior Music Education major currently studying the saxophone with Dr. Perry Rask. I am the son of two Millikin alumni and from Belleville, Illinois. I am actively involved with many instrumental ensembles at Millikin, including lead positions in Saxophone Quartet I, Jazz Band I, the 4:00 combo, and the saxophone section leader of the Millikin Symphonic Wind Ensemble. I was recognized as an “outstanding sophomore” in 2020 by Phi Kappa Lambda and earned an “Outstanding Soloist” award at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival. In 2021, I earned second place in the Hollis Prize and was named a Presser Scholar for my work as a junior instrumentalist. 

Performing this work in-person with so many talented musicians will be a rewarding experience that I will never forget.

I am in the honors program at Millikin and through my studies at Millikin, I have maintained an overall GPA of 3.9 and I am a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honors society. As a member of the Golden Apple Program, I plan to teach at a school of need after his graduation, but also intend to pursue graduate school. I am excited to work with Dr. McClain and the MDSO on a piece that I am so passionate about. 

Leon Lewis-Nicol

Julia Funck

instrumental Performance, freshman

Julia Funck is a first year Bachelor of Music student at Millikin University majoring in clarinet performance from Marion, Iowa. She currently performs with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, Millikin Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Eidolan Woodwind Quartet, Millikin University Clarinet Quintet, and Millikin Women. Julia aspires to perform in orchestras and other professional ensembles while either teaching at the collegiate level or owning her own private lesson studio. 

I am beyond thrilled to be performing this concerto with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra because I have been dreaming of this opportunity since the clarinet stole my heart in 5th grade.

Trevor Stout

Jorie Clark

vocal Performance, junior

Soprano Jorie Clark is a junior vocal performance major from Springfield, Ill. She was named the winner of the 2019 Hollis Prize competition, the highest award that may be received by a student instrumentalist or vocalist within the School of Music. Clark was awarded third place in the 2018 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Central Region Competition—Lower Classical Women’s Division, and qualified to advance to the national finals. Clark made her debut at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival in Mark Adamo’s “Little Women,” where she covered the role of Beth and sang in the female quartet under the direction of Carleen Graham (Houston Grand Opera).  Clark returned to The Big Island as Jenny in Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” At Millikin, Clark has portrayed both leading and supporting roles in “A Hand of Bridge,” “The Magic Flute,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Nina: La Storia Nicosta,” and was featured in Millikin Opera Theatre’s production of “From Berlin to Broadway,” featuring the works of Kurt Weill. Additionally, Clark has performed with both Millikin Women and the University Choir, and is a dedicated member of Sigma Alpha Iota.