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Three MSU seniors receive Sudler Prize in the Arts

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Three Michigan State University students are recipients of an award recognizing their achievements in the arts.

John McLain Pray of Charlotte, Robert Parks of Grand Rapids and Margaret McCall of Detroit are recipients of the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts for 2008. All three will graduate in May.

The Sudler Prize is annually awarded to top college seniors from across the country who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in an area of the performing and creative arts, including the fine arts, music, creative writing, theater and the electronic/photographic arts. Students are recommended for the award by faculty members from their home institutions.

McLain will graduate with a degree in music performance. He has played the tuba in the MSU orchestras and the university bands since 2004. He has won positions playing with several well-known and highly competitive summer music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival and was invited to perform with the New World Symphony. McLain was named as one of the five winners of the annual MSU Honors Concert and was featured as a soloist with the MSU Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has served as a teacher for high school and junior high school low brass students. Since 2007, he has been a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and acts as a mentor to brass students in the DSO’s younger training orchestras.

He also served as a member of the first MSU-China exchange concerts that promoted not only the exchange of music with China, but also cultural and societal values. For the past semester, Parks has served as a student teacher at Brighton High School in Brighton. A theater major, McCall has worked as a skilled dramaturge, acting as a consultant to interpret and uphold the authenticity of each production. She has also worked as a stage manager for numerous productions at MSU and throughout the Lansing theater community. McCall established the first dramaturge position at the Peppermint Creek Theatre Company in East Lansing and has applied her craft to many theaters, including All of Us Children’s Express Theatre, Summer Circle Theatre, the East Lansing Renegade Theatre Festival and the Riverwalk Theatre.

McCall also has had extensive experience in outreach and engagement when she coordinated a group of senior theater majors to teach fourth graders activities to help them understand and enjoy the theater.

The Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts has been honoring undergraduate students with artistic talent since 1982. Besides MSU, the award is given out at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chicago, Oberlin, Purdue, Duke, Rice, Stanford and Emory universities. Sudler, a Chicago businessman and philanthropist who died in 1992, began his active support of music programs at MSU in1970, when he helped to bring the Beethoven Bicentennial Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to East Lansing. He also was a founding member of the WKAR Music Projects Advisory Board.

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