Young Artist Competition

2018 Margaret Kegel Young Artist Scholarship Competition Winner: Gus Brown

A junior at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he began drum set lessons at age 4 with Gabe Brown of American Idol and Helforstout fame. Shortly after, snare and drum set instructor Ryan Hoagland took him on as a student. Gus’ first performances were with the St. Joseph Catholic School middle school jazz band in third grade, the middle school concert band in fourth grade and as the LaSalle Catholic School show choir drummer the same year.

Tom Mackey, with Orchestra Iowa, the Des Moines Symphony and the CR Municipal Band, began private concert band percussion instruction with Gus in 2011. Later that year jazz drummer Matt Bernamann started private lessons with him. Gus continues weekly private lessons with Tom, Ryan, and Matt. Under the guidance of Xavier High School Band Director Kelli Swehla he began marching with the Xavier High School marching band in 7th grade. He also joined Xavier High School’s Jazz Band Two in 8th grade. Currently, Gus performs with Xavier High School’s marching band, concert band, jazz band, Xhilaration show choir band, liturgical music group and the drama pit orchestras.

He attended the Luther College summer music camps from 2011 through 2014 under the instruction of Juan Tony Gúzman. Gus attended the Monterey Jazz Festival High School summer camp the last three summers studying with instructors Terri Lynn Carrington, Jeff Hamilton, Paul Cantos, and Vince Lateano. Gus also attended the Music For All Concert Percussion camp during the summer of 2017 at Ball State University. He was selected to the Iowa High School All State Orchestra in 2017 as a percussionist. Gus earned an alternate selection with the 2018 3A High School All State Jazz Band on the drum set. He has been a member of Coe College High School Honor concert band for two years, the NEIBA Honor Concert Band for one years, the NEIBA Honor Jazz Band for two years, the Cedar Rapids Youth Wind Ensemble for two years, and the 2018 North Corridor All Star Jazz Band. Gus earned many Division 1 ratings for State and City solo contests and earned best of center in 2017 (marimba) and 2018 (timpani).

During the summer of 2017 Gus organized the inaugural Percussion Camp at Xavier High School for musicians from kindergarten through 8th grade. That fall Gus performed with The Gabe Medd Duo as one of the Corridor’s top high school jazz musicians for Gabe’s Homecoming concert. Gus is a member of the National Honor Society.

Gus would like to thank his drum teachers Ryan, Matt, and Tom for their instruction and friendship through his years of lessons. He would like to extend a special thank you to Tom Mackey and Kelli Swehla for the many opportunities to perform and extend his musical growth. Gus would like to thank his family, parents Jerry and Dr. Holly Brown, and his sisters Michaela, Kesson and Cathryn.


2017 Margaret Kegel Young Artist Scholarship Competition Winner: Allyson Kegel


Allyson Kegel is a senior attending Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She is the daughter of David Kegel and renowned flute instructor, the late Margaret Linnan Kegel. She is also the sister of Sam, University of Illinois Springfield Flute Professor and Applied Music Specialist Abigail Kegel Walsh, and University of Iowa French Horn Performance Major Michael. Allyson participates in many school academic programs such as National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, as well as many clubs. In addition, she consistently ranks at the top of her class and prides herself on her numerous academic achievements and exceptional work ethic. Outside of school, Allyson babysits and volunteers at St. Luke’s Hospital where she regularly leads exercise activities, interacts with patients, and performs office work. She is currently enrolled in AP Music Theory and enjoys composing music in her free time.

This past November, Allyson was selected into the Iowa All-State Band and performed under the direction of composer Jack Stamp. As a junior, she was selected as the 1st Alternate for the All-State Festival. Allyson has held the principal oboe position in the Kennedy Wind Symphony all four years of her high school career. She has performed many oboe and English horn solos at City and State Solo and Ensemble Contests, consistently earning division one ratings. During marching band season, Allyson played in the pit percussion and drumline and served as section leader for both sections. The past two years she has been the Drum Major for the marching band and was awarded the highly competitive “Best Drum Major” award at both the Linn-Mar and West Des Moines Valley competitions. In addition to oboe and percussion, Allyson plays tenor saxophone in her school’s top jazz ensemble. She also participates in the pit orchestra for the spring musical production at her high school every year. This past year, she was awarded 3rd place at the University of Iowa Double Reed Day Festival Solo Competition on oboe, a finalist position at the University of Northern Iowa Solo Competition, 2nd place at the NEIBA Roy Schwab Scholarship Competition, 1st place at the Cedar Rapids Paul Anthony Scholarship Competition, and 1st Place at the CR Municipal Band Young Artist Competition. Last year, Allyson was hired to perform in the orchestra with the Cedar Rapids Concert Chorale, a group of the area’s finest chorale instructors and professionals.

Growing up surrounded by her mother’s private flute studio helped strengthen Allyson’s extraordinary love for music. She determined she wanted to become a band director through her experiences as drum major for her school’s marching band. Some of Allyson’s most influential music teachers include her mother, private lesson instructor and band director Ms. Lesley Fleer, and band director Mr. Jared Wacker. She one day wishes to teach with the same passion, dedication, and love for music that her teachers have shown to her. Allyson will be attending the University of Iowa to study Music Education on an oboe scholarship.

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2016 Margaret Kegel Young Artist Scholarship Competition Winner: Tina Wichert

 Tina Wichert

Tina Wichert just finished her junior year at Center Point – Urbana High School. She has played the clarinet since the fifth grade and was a private student of Jeanette Fahrney until 2015, when she began to study with Dr. Amanda McCandless, clarinet professor at UNI. She currently plays in CPU’s high school band, marching band, pep band, and musical pit band. In years past, she has also played piano with the jazz band and show choir. Tina has participated in numerous honor bands over the years, including the All-State Music Festival. In the summer, she attends Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival where she has played chamber music and orchestral pieces with guidance from Jason Weinberger and the Harlem String Quartet. This past year, Tina auditioned for the Waterloo Symphony Orchestra’s substitute position.

In February, she was selected as first chair for UNI’s 11-12 Honor Band. She has also done well at solo and ensemble contest, having received multiple Division 1 ratings and two “Best of Center” awards.

Tina is involved in numerous other activities besides band, including Speech, National Honor Society, and her school’s computer club, where she has also achieved success. She has a great love for film and currently plans to major in music technology and digital communications at UNI when she graduates. She would like to thank her family: Becca, Jim, Carter, and Caiden, along with her teachers, Mrs. and Mr. Fahrney, Dr. McCandless, Mrs. and Mr. Jacobi, Mr. Neff, and Mr. Wipperling, for all of their support and help over the years.

The Margaret Kegel Young Artist Scholarship Named in Honor of Long-Time Cedar Rapids Municipal Band Member

Margaret Kegel

Margaret Kegel was the longtime principal piccolo player and frequent soloist with the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band. She had an active career as a studio teacher and freelance performer, and she also served as a regular clinician the Cedar Rapids schools. Because so many students enjoyed the benefits of her exceptional teaching, mentoring, friendship, and guidance, the CRMB named its Young Artist Competition scholarship in her honor during the 2016 season.

Margaret was born March 22, 1960 to Michael and Shirley (Moran) Linnan in Cedar Rapids. She attended the University of Iowa where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in flute performance and a Master of Fine Arts degree in flute performance, while studying with world-renowned pedagogue Betty Bang Mather. She enjoyed serving on the faculties of Grinnell College, Mount Mercy College, Coe College, Cedar Rapids Symphony School of Music, the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival, and as a Teaching Assistant in Flute at the University of Iowa. Margaret taught many flute students in both Suzuki and Traditional methods and her students routinely achieved outstanding success in competition at the state, regional, and national levels. She was also an active member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.

Margaret was a dedicated and inspirational wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, colleague, and friend. We all sought her words of comfort and wisdom, knowing she would guide us towards excellence in all of our endeavors. We will forever miss her love and infectious positive personality. She always gave us the strength and conviction to move forward facing any challenge or adversity in life.

Past Young Artist Competition Winners:

2015: Lexie Forstrom

Lexi Picture

Lexi Forstrom is a part of Kennedy High School’s class of 2015. She has been playing the alto saxophone for 9 years and is a private student of Lynne Hart. She has been involved in many musical groups at Kennedy such as Wind Symphony, jazz band, marching band, pit orchestra, and various small ensembles. Apart from school, she has enjoyed playing in her church’s worship team and throughout the community in a saxophone quartet called Santa’s Saxes, coached by Lynne Hart. Lexi was selected to play in the All-State Band in both 2013 and 2014 as well as the All-State Jazz Band for the past 3 years. She has received many Division 1 ratings at state contest, and was recognized as “Best in Center” in 2014. In February she won first place at the UNI solo competition. This fall, Lexi will be attending the University of Northern Iowa to study Music Education, where she will continue to stay very involved in her musical career.
She would like to thank her parents: Mark and Cindy Forstrom, as well as her teachers: Lynne Hart, Jared Wacker, and Lesley Fleer for helping and encouraging her along the way.

2014: Evan Brown, horn

Evan Brown photo

Evan Brown will be a senior at Linn-Mar High School this fall. He has been playing French horn for seven years and has been a private student of David Law since 2009 and Dan Malloy since 2013. He is a member of Linn-Mar’s Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, pit orchestra, and Marching Lions. Evan was selected for the All-State Orchestra the last two years and has also played in the Cyclone Honor Band at Iowa State for three years, the Iowa Honor Band at the University of Iowa for two years, and the Concordia High School Honor Band at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, for two years. Last summer he played in several concerts as a substitute with the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band, and he has played with the Marion Community Band since 2010 and Cedar Brass since 2012. This summer he will be touring Europe with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music, playing concerts and visiting seven countries. He has received two “Best of Center” awards at the Iowa High School Music Association solo and ensemble festival and has played in two Linn-Mar honors recitals.

In addition to playing French horn, Evan has also taken piano lessons since before he started kindergarten. Evan also enjoys math and science, and after graduation he is interested in pursuing a double major in music performance and some type of engineering. His family includes parents Randy and Sarah and brother Ian.


2013: Keith Hammer, mallets 

Keith Hammer pic

Keith Hammer is currently a sophomore at the Shepherd School of Music in Houston, TX at Rice University. He has been playing percussion for eight years, and has studied with Tom Mackey, and is currently studying with Richard Brown and Matthew Strauss. During his high school career, he auditioned for the Iowa All State Orchestra and Band. He was First Alternate in the South-East District for the Orchestra two years in a row, and was a Band member during his senior year. Along with this, he has performed in the ISU Gold Honor band three years in a row, and was the Principal Timpanist during his third year. He has received two Best-of-Center awards at the State Solo and Ensemble Competitions. He has performed numerous times with the municipal band, as a substitute, member, and soloist, since 2011.

He will be traveling next year with the Shepherd School of Music Symphony Orchestra on tour to play at Carnegie Hall in New York next year in October. Outside of percussion, he also enjoys playing soccer and hiking. His family includes parents Keith and Laura Hammer, and brothers Ethan and Andrew.


2012: Katharine Benya, piccolo

Katharine Benya (2012) photo

Katharine Benya is a freshman at Washington High School. She has been playing flute for six years and piccolo for one year and is a private student of Margaret Kegel. Katharine is an active member of the Washington High School fine arts department and participates in Wind Symphony, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Symphony Orchestra, and musical theater productions. Katharine was selected for All-State Band (flute) as a freshman, has received numerous Division I ratings (flute & piccolo) at state contest, and was recognized as “Best in Center” (flute) in 2012. Katharine was named the Junior Division winner of the Iowa Flute Festival Flute Wonders Competition in 2011 and 2012.

In addition, Katharine is an accomplished pianist whose teachers include Janice Cuffel, Patricia Leier, and Dr. Ted Reuter. Katharine was a consistent winner at the district level Iowa Music Teachers Association Piano Auditions from 2003-2011, was named the state winner in 2009, and competed in the state auditions in 2011. Katharine is also the pianist for the acoustic band, 54 Minutes, which was named winner of the Washington High School Jamnesty contest last April.

Katharine was named a Presidential Scholar in 2011, maintains a 4.0 GPA, and is interested in pursuing medical science in the future.


2011: Emily Baker, flute

Emily Baker photo

Emily Baker is a member of Linn-Mar High School’s class of 2011. She has been playing the flute for 8 years and is a private student of Amy Sams. Emily was an active member of the Linn-Mar music department throughout high school, participating in the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Chamber Singers, Show Choir, and musical productions. She was a four year All-State Band member and was selected as an alto saxophone alternate for the All-State Jazz Band in 2011. Emily has received numerous Division I ratings at state contest and was recognized as ‘Best in Center’ in 2010 and 2011.

In addition to her musical pursuits, Emily greatly enjoys her course work at school and was recognized as a National Merit Finalist and a Governor’s Scholar. She will be attending St. Olaf College in the fall on both academic and music scholarships. She currently plans to study music and law.



Founded in 1951, the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band performs 18 free concerts in Cedar Rapids parks during the summer months. Since 2011, the CRMB has sponsored the Young Artist Competition each year to encourage the development of outstanding high school musicians. The winner of the competition will be the featured guest soloist during one week of the summer season and given a financial award of $250 in support of future music endeavors. Runners-up may also be named and have an opportunity to perform with the band. More information about the CRMB and the Young Artist Competition can be found at