MANHATTAN — Just say it’s another “trumpet call” to success for Kansas State University’s Becki Walenz.
The instructor of trumpet in the university’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, has won a national contest and will be featured in a music video for singer-songwriter Mark Ballas’ latest single, “Miss Incredible.” Filming for the video will be Saturday, Aug. 9, in Los Angeles. Ballas is also an Emmy-nominated performer and choreographer who has appeared on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
Walenz won the Ballas contest by proving she is, like his song says, Miss Incredible. The contest was open to females of any age in the U.S. and asked them to submit a video of themselves doing amazing things to enhance their lives and the lives of others.
Walenz submitted a 60-second video, available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUvt9sNRlRg, in which she explains that she was quiet and shy as a child, but that the trumpet helped give her confidence.
“All I ever wanted to do was to play music, so at age 10, I chose to play trumpet in the school band,” Walenz said. “I thought for sure if I played a commanding instrument like the trumpet, people would acknowledge me and hear what I had to offer the world.”
And even though she selected an instrument dominated by male players, Walenz has gone on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in trumpet performance from Kansas State University, land the principal trumpet seat with the Salina Symphony and get a job teaching the instrument at a major university. She also was Miss Kansas in the 2010 Miss America pageant.
“It’s my goal now to not only break the stereotype of who should play trumpet, but to also push the boundaries of what kind of music can be played on the instrument,” Walenz said.
Walenz teaches trumpet studio and a portion of the high brass techniques music education course at Kansas State University. She also is part of the university’s Faculty Brass Quintet. She is an adjunct trumpet instructor at Kansas Wesleyan University and column editor for the “journal jr.” column of the International Trumpet Guild quarterly journal, where her articles reach trumpet players in 60 countries. As an undergraduate, she played the trumpet for the university’s brass, trumpet and wind ensembles. Originally from Wichita, she is a graduate of Buhler High School.