Southeastern's Community Music School names Outstanding Musicians

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
by: Tonya Lowentritt

1)Kathleen Rush 2)Brennan Saenz 3) Elijah Strain

1) Kathleen Rush     2) Brennan Saenz   3) Elijah Strain

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Community Music School announced Kathleen “Kate” Rush, Brennan Saenz and Elijah “Eli” Strain as the Spring 2017 CMS Outstanding Musicians.
     The Outstanding Musicians were chosen by audience votes during the final three spring 2017 recitals. All three students are violinists from the studio of Community Music School Director Jivka Duke. Saenz won the vote on the Tuesday, May 9 recital, Rush had the highest number of votes from the recital on May 11, and Strain won the vote of the Friday, May 12 recital.
     “We congratulate our Spring 17 CMS Outstanding Musicians, as well as the other 45 young musicians who performed beautifully at the recitals, Duke said. “We are excited to share our students’ accomplishments with the community as we have big hopes and dreams for all of them.”
     Rush lives in Covington and is an 8th grade student at Archbishop Hannan High School. She has studied violin for eight-and-a-half years, but her accomplishments don’t end with the violin, Duke said. Apart from her perfect scores on the English and Reading sections of the ACT, Rush has had leading and major roles in drama and musical theatre productions, and she recently co-piloted her first flight as a Cadet Airman in the Civil Air Patrol. She is the president of her class and has been named the 8th grade private school student of the year for the State of Louisiana.
     Saenz was born in Seattle, Wash., and his first language was Mandarin, Chinese. He currently lives in Mandeville and is a third grade student at Magnolia Trace Elementary in Mandeville. Saenz has been playing violin for a little over two years and piano for one year. He received the highest score at the Community Music School’s Spring Festival in March of 2017, where he played both the violin and the piano.
     Strain lives in Slidell and just finished fifth grade at Lake Harbor Middle School. He has studied violin for four years. Strain also plays the piano and recently placed first in the “Level I” category of the District Piano Rally. He also loves to sing and hopes to be a star on Broadway someday, Duke said.
     We are looking forward to the summer programs taking place the last two weeks of June,” Duke added. “The Summer Band Camp as well as the Chamber Music, Guitar and Orchestra workshops are still accepting registrations.”
     “Due to the generous sponsorship of First Guaranty Bank, the CMS will once again offer discounted tuition to students who are on reduced of free lunch at their schools,” Duke said.
For more information about CMS summer programs and general registration, call 985-549-5502, or visit the CMS website at

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