Southeastern's Community Music School names outstanding musicians


Wednesday, December 19, 2018 CMS Outstanding Musicians Fall 2018
by: Tonya Lowentritt

SOUTHEASTERN CMS NAMES OUTSTANDING MUSICIANS - Southeastern Louisiana University’s Community Music School recently announced its Fall 2018 Outstanding Musicians. The musicians were chosen by audience votes during the final fall 2018 recitals. Pictured front row, from left, are Alana Saenz, Natalie Fulks, and Jonah Blades. Back row, from left, are Charlie Byrd and Katie Miranda.


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Community Music School announced pianist Charlie Byrd, violinist Jonah Blades, pianist Natalie Fulks, bassoonist and pianist Katie Miranda and violinist and pianist Alana Saenz as its Fall 2018 CMS Outstanding Musicians.
     The Outstanding Musicians were chosen by audience votes during the final fall 2018 recitals.
     “We congratulate our Fall 2018 CMS Outstanding Musicians. We have big hopes and dreams for all of our students and love to share their accomplishments with the community,” said Community Music School Director Jivka Duke. “We look forward to an exciting spring 2019 semester when we will be launching our career track program. In addition to orchestra and individual lessons on various instruments and voice, we will also be hosting our annual Spring Festival and Concerto Competition.”
     Byrd lives in Amite. He is a high school senior home-schooled since first grade and plans to attend Southeastern in the fall of 2019. He has been playing the piano since he was eight years old, Duke said, but became serious about it at the age of 12. In his spare time, he makes electronic music and enjoys reading.
     A resident of Wilmer, Blades is 12 years old and attends Jewel M. Sumner Middle School. He is an A-honor roll student and participates in the Talented Art program. He received his first violin at the age of four after asking for one for Christmas. Blades began taking lessons at age five, Duke said, but soon decided he was not quite ready to play and resumed lessons in 2016. He enjoys playing the violin, drawing, and model airplane building. He is an active member of his church youth group at First United Methodist Church of Amite and wants to be a pilot or an orthodontist when he grows up.
     Fulks lives in Albany and is a third-grade gifted student at University View Academy, a virtual school. She recently began taking piano lessons in June of 2018. When not learning or playing the piano, Fulks enjoys competitive gymnastics, reading, learning about science, and spending time with her family.
     Miranda lives in Hammond and attends Albany High School. She has been playing the piano for nine years and the bassoon for four years. She plays piccolo in Albany’s marching band, bassoon in their concert band, and has played bassoon with various honor bands throughout high school, including Southeastern’s Invitational, LMEA All-State, District, and Parish honor bands. Additionally, Miranda has played with the Louisiana Youth Orchestras for six years. She participates in the Livingston Parish Talented Arts Programs for music, visual arts, and theatre. She is also involved with The New Octavians community theatre troupe. In her spare time, she enjoys tending to her 48 houseplants and her pet cat.
     Saenz is a third grade student at Magnolia Trace Elementary in Mandeville. She has been a member of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra for two years, has played violin for three years, piano for two years, and is a member of the third grade choir at Magnolia Trace Elementary. In November of 2018, Saenz performed as a soloist with the Southeastern Symphony Orchestra, where she played Vivaldi’s concerto for two violins in A minor along with her brother Brennan Saenz, who is also a violinist. She is a straight-A student, and her mom says she is quite the perfectionist. She loves to read, draw, and spend time with her family.
     For more information about CMS programs and general registration, call 985-549-5502, or visit the CMS website at

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