UW-Whitewater boasts top music education student for fourth year in a row

    August 22, 2011

    Abby MartinA talented student horn player at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has won the 2011 Richard G. Gaarder Award for the most promising state student in music education.

    The highly competitive award goes to Abigail Martin, a senior French horn player from Johnsburg, Ill., who's passionate about the joy of music.

    Her selection marks the fourth year in a row that a music student from UW-Whitewater has been chosen for the award by the Wisconsin Music Educators Association. In the 23 years the award has been given, a UW-Whitewater student has won it 14 times.

    "Abby is a wonderful musician, one of the finest student hornists UW-Whitewater has ever had,'' said J. Michael Allsen, professor and chair of the Department of Music. "She maintains a very high GPA and has displayed outstanding leadership in our active student music education organization."

    Martin has been sharing her love of music since arriving at UW-Whitewater, a dream born when she attended a French horn festival on campus as a sixth grader.

    "I've had a great experience at UW-Whitewater, mostly because of all the things I am able to participate in,'' she said.

    She's played in ensembles, served as secretary and treasurer of the Collegiate Music Educators National Conference, worked as a counselor at tennis and band camps and competed on the tennis team. This summer, she's playing in weekly outdoor concerts with the Woodstock City Band in Illinois.

    Martin also will be playing with the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra in its upcoming season and with the Warhawk Marching Band this fall.

    After student teaching next spring and graduating in May, she plans to attend graduate school. She hopes to combine professional performance with teaching, perhaps at the college level.

    "I love playing my horn. I also love teaching," Martin said. "Music is my life."

    She will receive the Gaarder Award in October at the annual Wisconsin State Music Conference in Madison. Richard Gaarder was executive director of the Wisconsin School Music Association from 1964 to 1988.

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