March 12, 2014 at 3:01pm
Millikin University's School of Music will present the 12th annual Hollis Prize Competition Recital on Saturday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Kaeuper Hall, Perkinson Music Center, on Millikin's campus. The recital will feature performances by Millikin University's top three music performing students. The event is free and open to the public, no reservations or tickets required. This year's finalists are Adam Blakey (saxophone), a senior music performance major from Decatur, Ill., Jonathan Rodriguez (percussion), a senior music performance major from Tucson, Ariz., and Chelsea Wright (mezzo-soprano), a senior vocal performance major from Bloomington, Ill.

The Hollis Prize is the highest award that may be received by a student instrumentalist or vocalist within the Millikin School of Music. The Hollis Prize was first awarded in spring 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," said Dr. Stephen Widenhofer, director of the Millikin School of Music and professor 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 $2000 award and will perform a recital in Chicago. Runners-up each receive $500. This year's recital will be held Friday, April 11 at 12:15 p.m. at the Harold Washington Library Auditorium in Chicago.

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

The Finalists

Adam Blakey '€“ Saxophone

Adam Blakey has been studying saxophone with Dr. Perry Rask, Millikin professor of music, for seven years, beginning on a scholarship from the Symphony Orchestra Guild. He is a Decatur native and a graduate of MacArthur High School where he played in the nationally acclaimed Jazz Band I for three years. While in high school, Adam was also a member of the Decatur Youth Symphony where he was a featured soloist on saxophone, and a participant in various IMEA District and All-State festivals.

At Millikin, Adam plays lead alto saxophone in Jazz I, and soprano saxophone in the top saxophone quartet, which won the Band Concerto Competition in spring 2012. He also played for Millikin's OneVoice and Latin Jazz Project. In 2013, Adam won the Band Concerto Competition and was named a Presser Scholar.

Jonathan Rodriguez '€“ Percussion

Jonathan Rodriguez began his classical percussion studies in Tucson, Ariz., studying with Homero Ceron at Pima Community College for three years before continuing his studies with Brian Justison, professor of music, and Jeremy Brunk, lecturer of music, at Millikin University. He has won numerous percussion awards and competitions, taught music theory and drum-set methods at New York summer camps, has performed extensively with various groups of different styles, and has toured nationally and internationally with his world music group, Aztral Folk. Aside from his personal projects, Jonathan performs with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, Latin Jazz Project, Advanced Jazz Combo, Wind Ensemble, and the Millikin University Chamber Percussion Ensemble.

Chelsea Wright '€“ Mezzo-Soprano

Chelsea Wright has studied and performed classical Italian repertoire in such locations as Piobbico, Italy. Her choral experience includes a performance at Carnegie Hall with the Millikin University Choir, of which she is a third-year member. Chelsea is also a fourth-year member of the Opera Workshop program at Millikin, featured in this year's production of "Sour Angelica" as the Pricipessa. After Millikin, Chelsea plans to pursue a graduate vocal performance degree in Europe. She has studied voice with Frances Daniels for the past four years.

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 Millikin's School of Music, visit