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

Adrian Sanchez Rodriguez

Instrumental Performance, Sophomore

Native of Merida, Venezuela, he started his music studies at a very young age. Before coming to the United States to get his undergraduate degree, he was a member of the Merida State Symphony Orchestra and was invited to perform with the state’s youth orchestra on multiple occasions. Currently, Sanchez Rodriguez studies Violin under the direction of Dr. Aaron Jacobs, and forms part of the Millikin Decatur Symphony Orchestra, the Millikin Chamber Orchestra, and plays in the String Quartet.

I’ve had the opportunity to play with the piano accompaniment, but now that I’m going to have the opportunity to play with an orchestra, that’s going to be amazing! I’m excited about that, it’s the first time I’ll be playing with an orchestra.

Outside of these ensembles, he has had the opportunity to perform in other Millikin events such as Vespers 2019 and Chicago The Musical. Sanchez Rodriguez is also looking into exploring in depth his other areas of interest, conducting and composing, and hopes to pursue a master’s degree upon graduating from Millikin.

Leon Lewis-Nicol

Cecilia Antonelle

Vocal Performance, Junior

 Recent roles include Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Mrs. Nolan in The Medium, and Edith in Millikin OperaTheatre’s, The Pirates of Penzance. They have performed in numerous cabarets, masterclasses, and competitions during their collegiate career, including placing second in the Classical Voice category at Regional NATS in 2018. Cecilia is an active and proud member of University Choir and Sigma Alpha Iota, and is so grateful for this opportunity.

“When we were going through my second song, I was standing on stage and just listening to them play and I had to close my eyes for a second and kind of pinch myself. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never heard this played by an orchestra.’ And that was my favorite moment of the week so far. I had to remember it and take a little mental picture for myself.”

Trevor Stout

Victor Lawton

Music Performance, clarinet

From Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Victor is a Music Performance Major at Millikin University. A 2019 graduate of Dillard Center for the Arts. His interests include hanging out with family and friends on top of listening to music, of course.


Trevor Stout

Megan Devine

Music Performance, senior

 She is the principal percussionist of the Millikin Symphonic Wind Ensemble and also a member of the Chamber Percussion Ensemble and Latin Jazz Project. In the past, she has performed with the Millikin Decatur Symphony Orchestra as well. While she plays many types of percussion instruments in these ensembles, marimba has always been her favorite. Megan is currently the president of the Millikin University Percussive Arts Society, and Alpha Phi Omega, Eta Epsilon chapter. Alpha Phi Omega is a co-Ed service fraternity that Megan has been a part of since her freshman year, and she helped start the Big Blue Food Pantry for students in need. After graduating from Millikin, she plans on going to graduate school for a degree in Percussion Performance.