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My Town: EKHS students selected for Michigan Youth Arts Festival
My Town: EKHS students selected for Michigan Youth Arts Festival

KENTWOOD, Mich.-- Four instrumental music students from East Kentwood High School have been selected to participate in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, held on the campus of Western Michigan University, May 8th-10th.  

They are:

  • Derek Bartlett (11) Honors Jazz Ensemble-Trombone
  • Peter Cripps (11) Honors Band-Tuba
  • Claire Ross (12) Honors Orchestra-Horn
  • Travon Williams (12) Honors Jazz Ensemble- Piano

For Cripps and Ross, selection was a result of proficiency examinations at State Solo and Ensemble.  Their scores were among the highest in the state for their instruments. Williams and Bartlett were selected as a result of outstanding performances at the State Jazz Festival.  The adjudicators nominated several students from throughout the state.   A panel of judges selected the top 20 students for the Honors Jazz Ensemble based on their performances.

The three-day event is unique to the state of Michigan. In addition to intense rehearsals, the participants will attend workshops and concerts/performances/exhibits by other arts organizations throughout the state. The culminating event occurs on Saturday afternoon in Miller Auditorium where the MSVMA State Honors Choir, MSBOA Honors Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, and Orchestra perform a grand finale concert at 2:30 p.m.

Claire Ross

Claire Ross is a senior at East Kentwood High School.  For the second year in a row, she has been selected for the MYAF Honors Orchestra.  Last year Ross won the MYAF concerto competition and this year was a finalist.  Only four students from among thousands who compete are selected for this honor.  Ross was principal horn in the MSBOA All-State Orchestra in 2014 and 2nd chair horn in the All-State Band in 2013.

Ross is the principal horn in the East Kentwood High School Wind Ensemble, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony, and the Michigan State University Spartan Youth Symphony.

Ross has accepted a generous scholarship to study horn performance at Michigan State University with professor Corbin Wagner. She would like to play horn professionally in a major symphony orchestra after college graduation.  Along with playing, Ross enjoys singing and is a member of the Women’s Ensemble at East Kentwood High School.  Her horn instructor is Grand Rapid Symphony Assistant Principal Horn, Erich Peterson.

Travon Williams

Travon Williams is a senior at East Kentwood High School.  He has been playing piano since he was 8 years old, began playing the flute as a junior high school student, and has been in choir since freshmen year.

Williams is currently a member of Varsity Voices at East Kentwood High School and has been performing with this choral ensemble for two years.  He has also been a member of East Kentwood’s Chamber Choir and recently joined the Men’s Ensemble.

Williams plays the flute in Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the piano in Jazz Band I.  This year he participated in both district and state solo ensembles as a vocal soloist.  He also competed in a district competition as a jazz band pianist.

Williams has accompanied several East Kentwood High School students and has played piano at Jazz Dinner Dances, Vocal Music Cabarets, and the high school Collage Concert. 

Williams has been involved in several musical theater performances and most recently acted as the character Rooster in a lead role in the musical Annie.  His other musical theater performances include The Wiz and Sweeney Todd, both East Kentwood High School productions.  Last summer Williams held a lead role in the Grand Rapids Civic Theater musical production Changing Minds.

Music is Williams' passion and he looks forward to many more opportunities to pursue his interest.

Derek Bartlett

Derek Bartlett  is a junior at East Kentwood High School.  He has been playing trombone since he started in 6th grade at Pinewood Middle School.  He plays trombone in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble at East Kentwood High School. 

Bartlett has been playing in the jazz band since 7th grade and is now in Jazz Band 1. 

Bartlett also enjoys playing in the EKHS Falcon Marching Band and is a section leader in the trombone section.

In his spare time, Bartlett likes technology and building computers.

Peter Cripps

Peter Cripps is a junior at East Kentwood High School.  He started his musical journey as a young child in Kindermusik ®, followed by five years of piano lessons.  Cripps started playing the tuba in 6th grade.  He was selected for District Honors Band in 7th grade and Middle School All-State Band in 8th grade.  He plays tuba in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble at East Kentwood High School and The Grand Rapids Youth Symphony.

Cripps also loves to play the bass.  He plays string bass in Concert Orchestra and Jazz Band II at East Kentwood High School.  He plays bass guitar in EKHS ABC Orchestra and in the praise band at Cornerstone Church.

Cripps' hobbies are playing music and writing music.  He hopes to have a career in music.