Madison Woolery is one of three Kentridge High School students who earned top honors during the Jackson State University music department’s virtual Solo and Ensemble Contest. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

Madison Woolery is one of three Kentridge High School students who earned top honors during the Jackson State University music department’s virtual Solo and Ensemble Contest. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

Kentridge High students earn music honors at virtual national competition

Three are part of Key to Change string studio program

Three Kentridge High School student-musicians were among 11 talented students from the Key to Change string studio to receive superior (first place) ratings at Jackson State University (Mississippi) music department’s virtual Solo and Ensemble Contest.

Ellie Whitby, Jason Deng and Madison Woolery received top honors at the November competition, according to the Kent School District.

They competed against high school student musicians from several states. Music professors from Jackson State University, a historically Black college, judged and coached each participant. All 11 Key to Change students performed scales and individual solo pieces that they have been learning in their respective group and individual music lessons.

About 30 competitors from three states (Washington, Mississippi and Texas) received the superior rating. Others were rated excellent or good.

The Jackson State University Department of Music is perhaps best known for the Sonic Boom of the South. This high-energy show-stopping marching band is legendary throughout the United States and abroad, and has been chosen to perform for nationally televised awards programs and professional football games.

Key to Change is a Washington State nonprofit organization that inspires underserved youth through world-class music instruction and supports their development as self-aware leaders.

Founded and directed by violinist, educator and entrepreneur Quinton Morris, Key to Change strives to dispel the “starving artist” mentality and provide young artists with the educational tools and resources they need in order to grow and thrive as musicians and as individuals. Morris is an associate professor of violin and chamber music at Seattle University.

Key to Change recently launched a violin studio, of the same name, in South King County which serves middle and high school students of color and economically disadvantaged backgrounds in Renton, Kent, Auburn, Maple Valley and Federal Way neighborhoods.

Key to Change studio offers scholarships for students requiring financial assistance.




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Ellie Whitby. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

Ellie Whitby. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

Jason Deng. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

Jason Deng. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District

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