We are thrilled to highlight the individual achievements of students and of a number of our school ensembles (made all the more remarkable amidst the challenge of this year).

The pandemic may have dramatically altered the music experience for SKPS teachers and students, but not their desire to remain connected and grow during this time. Teachers have worked hard to provide students opportunities to demonstrate individual and group achievement and give outlets for students to showcase their talents.

Solo and Ensemble

Both the Oregon Music Educators Association (OMEA) and the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) sponsored virtual versions of solo and ensemble contests. Students could prepare, record, and submit entries that would be evaluated by adjudicators and they received a rating and evaluation. We are happy to recognize the following students for their achievements in these events.

Solo Ensemble Students

Superior rating

Instrument Student School
High Saxophone Andrew Bryson West Salem
Trumpet Caden Randolph Sprague
Tuba Evan Henkel West Salem
Violin Matthew Zheng South Salem

Outstanding rating

Instrument Student School
Flute Diego Fernandez South Salem
High Clarinet Gary Hickam West Salem
Bassoon Teddy Zhang South Salem
Trumpet Daniel Corona Ramos McKay
Viola Sofiya Zavydovska South Salem
Cello Caden Harris-Clippinger South Salem
Soprano Voice Anna Roy West Salem
Soprano Voice Maisy Fisher South Salem

OSAA Competition

A long-time fixture in our high school music is their participation in numerous competitions connected to the state music festivals. 

OSAA modified the format to allow for recorded submissions by school bands, choirs, and orchestras. The return of our students to campus with hybrid instruction permitted our groups to begin to rehearse in-person and several recorded performances were submitted for this event. The following groups earned high honors in their respective events.

OSAA culminating week results

Please join us in celebrating the achievements of these students and their resourceful and committed teachers.


Program Rating Teacher
Orchestra Outstanding Alex Figueroa

South Salem

Program Rating Teacher
Band Superior JJ Meyer
Choir Superior Arielle Sazima
Orchestra Superior Damian Berdakin


Program Rating Teacher
Choir Superior David Brown
Orchestra Superior Lisa Rael

West Salem

Program Rating Teacher
Band Superior Todd Zimbelman
Choir Superior Kimberly McConnell
Orchestra Superior George Thomson

All-City Honors

The SKPS All-City Honors ensembles have been a long-time fixture in the music calendars. Annually, they bring together the district’s top performers, selected through competitive audition, for a weekend of rehearsals with some of the nation’s leading teacher-conductors culminating in a spectacular performance of challenging music. This year’s event was canceled, but our teachers creatively sought to provide students the opportunity to be recognized for their individual achievement and growth. 

Earning All-City honors are:

  • Middle School Band
  • High School Band
  • Middle School Choir
  • High School Choir
  • Middle School Orchestra
  • High School Orchestra

All-City High School Choir

Student School
Jaryd Clifton McKay
Jaime Guerrero McKay
Adriana Romero McKay
Lucas Mann  McKay
Juliana Ha McKay
Daily Landazuri McKay
Adriana Cavazos McKay
Kiele Jarnagin McNary
Aiden Wilson McNary
Caitlin Saldivar McNary
Student School
Hannah Wonderly McNary
Toby Straw McNary
Isabella Biondi McNary
Ellie Auvinen McNary
Kaylan Meraz North Salem
Abigail Boyd Sprague
Joseph Bird Sprague
Sage Talovo Sprague
Anna Roy West Salem

Middle School Choir – Recognition of Excellence

Claggett Creek

Grace Cobos
Annie Shore
Emma Webb
Rianna Shinn
Anna Bakanov
Amanda Prather
Jordyn Offield
Shelby Hibbeler
Aliyah Case
Amelia Ashlock
Iona Edward
Isabella Fantroy


Bailee Elliot
Addison Cochran
Marley Jauregui
 Sharlie Jenkins
Daniel Stuart
Silas Hawkins
Hailee Leppert
Elizabeth Geiling
Sidney Gathercoal
Simran Poudyal
Irelynn Tippets
Mia Gerber
Calvin Stewart
Bradlei Guest
Lauren Hines
Helanesa Lejjena


Kathryn Halliday
Brooklyn Butler
Lincoln Cordero
Abigail Crump
Haley Gibson
Maylie Knapp
Anesu Chipanera
Ashton Ayala
Natalie Gerber
Raelyn Schutz
Berkleigh Scott
Gillian Rodriguez-Lentz
Kiki Wright
Madeline Riedl-Linhart
Baylea Johns
Connor Trammell


Gwen Sorem
Denver Jacobs
Grace Wilson
Emerson Marlette
Cael Carty
Grace Wilson
Ava Zimmerman
Jacob Stephens
Lillian Strunk


Tam Huynh
Oto’ota-Mele Letisi
Joshua Lopez Christenson
Rommel Mayor
Jason McGowan
Paige Simonsen
Nicole Willmschen
Kylie Schwab
Brookelyn Mann
Kaiden Armstead
Sienna Lor
Brandon Lua Anaya
Isaac Reynolds
Carlyse Texidor Belinskey
Zyla Aymore
Hailey Carbajal


Tam Huynh
Oto’ota-Mele Letisi
Joshua Lopez Christenson
Rommel Mayor
Jason McGowan
Paige Simonsen
Nicole Willmschen
Kylie Schwab
Brookelyn Mann
Kaiden Armstead
Sienna Lor
Brandon Lua Anaya
Isaac Reynolds
Carlyse Texidor Belinskey
Zyla Aymore
Hailey Carbajal

All-City High School Band

Student School
Ecaterina Pocitari McKay
Daniel Corona Ramos McKay
Victor Ceja McNary
Hannah Kuper McNary
Layne Ling McNary
Aiden Wilson McNary
Torren Hamilton McNary
Mallory Gisler North
Olivia Cunningham South
Aolin (Teddy) Zhang South
Maximilian Bishop South
Toby Buss South
Adrienne Choc South
Frank Mendez South
Ian Clawson South
Sadie Zager Sprague
Avery Rowzee Sprague
Darius Yehnert Sprague
Caden Randolph Sprague
Fatehjot Gogia Sprague
Student School
Evan Randolph Sprague
Reese Bennett Sprague
Emma King West
Sophia King West
Allayna Broadway West
Eloise Kochi West
Gary Hickam West
Lucas Dunn West
Andrew Bryson West
Isaiah Hoeft West
Mariana Acosta West
Tyler Coughran West
Anna McGlade West
Kaden Blake West
Nicholas Peterson-Hunt West
Nicholas Telford West
Caeden Leach West
Evan Henkel West
Zachary Miller West

All-City Middle School Band

Student School
Hayley Vanderweerd Claggett Creek
Ethan Parry Crossler
Oscar Amaro Houck
Lucas Westfall Howard Street
Javier Duran Judson
Avalee Turner Judson
Will Bishop Leslie
Sophie Kasner Leslie
Emily Vazquez Stephens
Hayden Ho Stephens
Miesha Gallegos Stephens
Breanna Moreno Stephens
Diego Diaz Straub
Jack Parr Straub
Yuval Pool Straub
Ruby Schwarz-Worth Straub
Tayden Pander Straub
Derek Xi Straub
Noah Stai Straub
Student School
Trevor Henkel Straub
Jack Ford Straub
Lauren Huber Straub
Maria Loaeza-Vargas Straub
Kiandra Anglin Straub
Taylor Aguilar Straub
Tyler Mercier Straub
Wyatt Watson Straub
Rebekah Ryan Straub
Logan Shimatsu Straub
Cole Hansen Straub
Ethen Vo Straub
Xander VanCampen Straub
Elisabeth Jackson Straub
Layton Voves Straub
Jacob Hanosek Straub
Ryleigh Faust Straub
Matthew Ngin Straub
David Hodges Straub
Dante Caballero Straub
Student School
Kaydence Lor Waldo
Timothy Muravez Waldo
Evan Renzema Walker
Audrey Fleck Whiteaker
Carson Boen Whiteaker
Carson Smith Whiteaker
Susannah Tussing Whiteaker
Aaron Hayes Whiteaker
Daniel Cooper Whiteaker
Kaitlyn Black Whiteaker
Emelia Kimsey Whiteaker
Talia Mesecar Whiteaker
Brianna Barker Whiteaker
Nicole Lettenmaier Whiteaker
Caden Allen Whiteaker
Christopher Hall Whiteaker
Rosemary Kirk Whiteaker
Ella Kellar Whiteaker
Lilyann Kinkaid Whiteaker

All-City High School Orchestra

Student School
Zach Warren McKay
Naomi Warren McKay
Douglas Howard McNary
Amy Gillette McNary
Tyshin Nguyen McNary
Isa Swain North
Autumn Ditzel South
Elizabeth Fajer South
Emily Killebrew South
Matthew Zheng South
Grace Clark South
Student School
Sofiya Zavydovska  South
Samuel Bertholf  South
Caden Harris-Clippinger  South
Jack Henry Majeski  South
Emilie Chau  South
Alexis Reeves South
Bianca Bartel Sprague
Joseph Bird Sprague
T.K. Dart Sprague
Olivia Howell Sprague
Student School
David Li Sprague
Chloe Russ Sprague
Amy Charnholm Sprague
Aimee Baldwin Sprague
Sarah Clothier West
Kaden Oprea West
Carter Parent West
Natalie Peterson-Hunt West
Mika Oprea West
Isaac Stearns West

Middle School Music of Excellence Orchestra

Student School
Itzel Salas Claggett Creek
Valeria Rodiguez Bautista Claggett Creek
Nadalyn DeLarosa Claggett Creek
Cassidy Kerner Claggett Creek
Wendy Rico Claggett Creek
Mason Estes Claggett Creek
Laurel Bard Crossler
Joseph Barra Crossler
Shelby Berkey Crossler
Samira Hassan Crossler
Jeffrey Milberg Crossler
Lindsay Vanderhoof Fleming Crossler
Anderson Webb Crossler
Hudson Whipple Crossler
Leo Wylam Crossler
Student School
Leslie Guiterrez Barrera Houck
Elijah Ferch Houck
Audreana Lor Houck
Kohana Springer Houck
Julian Bechtel Howard Street
Evie Beitzel Howard Street
Kara Everitt Howard Street
Addison Jones Howard Street
Madeline Nixon-Ghip Howard Street
Ashley Orr Howard Street
Alyssa Pollak Howard Street
Riley Utter Howard Street
Anna Whitney Howard Street
Kellen Bowman Judson
Nate Dimaya Judson
Student School
Ethan Harris Judson
Harper Jackman Judson
Luke Liu Judson
Daniil Manuylov Judson
Briella Mathis Judson
Phu Nguyen Judson
Andrew Roller Judson
Jose Casteneda Quiroz Leslie
Juliet Crateau Leslie
Julia Hollingsworth Leslie
Maren Livingston Leslie
Trenton Mendez Leslie
Cora Sorem Leslie
Alan Vera Leslie
Adeline Abel Parrish
Student School
Ben Box Parrish
Cora Chapman Parrish
Nelida Dalgas Parrish
Madelyn Hammond Parrish
Desmond Light Parrish
Marina Segura Medina Parrish
Sabina Carano Straub
Ava Grice Straub
Andrea Mercado Straub
Ava Miller Straub
Kyler Miller Straub
Evelyn O’Neill Straub
Leah Van Noy Straub
Brody Vorderstrasse Straub
Leilany Contreras Herrera Waldo
Student School
Alexander Cisneros Waldo
Benjamin Eguia Waldo
Karina Figueroa Waldo
Emily Gonzales Waldo
Luiz Garibay Waldo
Vanessa Hernandez Waldo
Nadia Luna Waldo
Carter Ly Waldo
Luz Mercado Waldo
Giovanny Ochoa Waldo
Valeria Rodriguez Waldo
Emiliano Davila Marcias Walker
Garrett Fenske Walker
Nevaeh Flores Walker
David Lopez Miranda Walker
Student School
Elisabeth McCartin Walker
Sydney Moneke Walker
Amelia Rawe Walker
Meri Romanowitz Walker
Brian Virgin Walker
Nicole Danner Whiteaker
Evelyn Davis Whiteaker
Luis Martinez Whiteaker
Hannah Mauer Whiteaker
Noa Mayer Whiteaker
Ruby Olsen Whiteaker
Jocelyn Schnurbusch Whiteaker
Savannah Schwartz Whiteaker
Nick White Whiteaker

Salem Youth Symphony

Each year members of the Salem Youth Symphony have the opportunity to compete in the Larry Garrett Concerto Competition which is adjudicated by a distinguished panel of professional musicians.  

The winners earn the opportunity to  perform their music with the symphony in an upcoming concert.  This year all of the honorees were students from Salem-Keizer Public Schools.

The winners are listed below:

  • Caden Harris-Clippinger and Matthew Zheng from South Salem High School performing the Brahms Double Concerto in A Minor, 1st movement for violin and cello.  
  • Receiving honorable mention were Victor Ceja from McNary High School and Caden Randolph from Sprague High School. 

Attached is an excerpt of the winning performance: Brahms Double Concerto in A Minor (For Honor Meeting).

Small String Ensembles

  • South Salem: Caden Harris-Clippinger and Matthew Zheng
  • South Salem: Sofiya Zavydovska and Matthew Zheng

Small Brass Ensembles

  • Sprague: Sprague Brass Duet

Project Chamber Music

Project Chamber Music aims to bring support to orchestra programs in Salem-Keizer Public Schools. This concert follows the Project’s annual educational residency in the local public school orchestra programs. 

Ticket proceeds will be donated to a fund made possible by Project Chamber Music, which provides private instrumental lessons to local students for whom the cost would be otherwise prohibitive. 

Music Lessons Project

The Music Lessons Project will provide opportunities for personalized music instruction to students with limited financial resources, with a primary focus on students at Title I schools. 

NAMM: 2021 Best Communities for Music Education

Salem-Keizer Public Schools is one of the recipients for the National Association of Music Merchants 2021 award for Best Communities for Music Education

The award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who make music education a successful part of a well-rounded education. 

Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.