McPherson College is pleased to announce the signings of two fantastic incoming players for fall 2017 – Myriah Webster resident of Lindsborg, Kan., and Marquette native; and Bailey Miller of Salina, Kan.

Webster has committed to play baritone saxophone and Miller has signed to play clarinet for McPherson College, with both receiving scholarships to participate in the college’s bands.

Webster will be pursuing a major in biology on a pre-veterinary track. A saxophone player since fifth grade with two aunts who also played, she has a strong background in both the alto and baritone varieties of the saxophone. Her honors include District Jazz Band her junior year and District Concert Band her senior year.

Miller is planning to enter the behavioral sciences program at MC with an eye toward becoming a social worker, although a long-standing interest in interior design may also shape her studies. She has earned a spot in District Honor Band all four years of high school and was either first or second chair in three of those four years. She also has played in the Salina Youth Symphony for five years.

Her start in band goes back to a spur-of-the-moment decision to play clarinet in the fifth grade.

“I’m really glad I did,” Miller said. “I think everyone should take band at least once.”

Webster said that because MC seeks out instrumentalists for scholarships who are both music majors as well as students who are outside of that major, it gives her a great opportunity to pursue diverse interests.

Even beyond McPherson College and graduate school, Webster said she plans to continue playing.

“I want to continue pursuing what I do best,” she said, “Maybe playing in some small-town orchestras while I’m in vet school and maybe playing in it after vet school.”

Webster said that what most appealed to her about McPherson College was how the MC bands have grown in recent years. Kyle Hopkins, associate professor of music and director of bands, took the program from just eight members four years ago to 57 members this semester.

“I think how he’s built the program interested me,” Webster said. “They’re not diminishing, they’re growing. That’s the number-one aspect that drew me.”

Miller said a number of factors drew her to MC – her band scholarship, the personal attention available at a smaller college, and the strong emphasis the college places on the arts in general. That emphasis, in particular, Miller said has strong benefits for mental health and in developing well-rounded, creative people.

“It just creates a whole new appreciation for music and the way it has changed through the years,” she said. “By recognizing the past, we can appreciate the present and also the future of what the arts will bring.”

Hopkins said Webster and Miller represent the high caliber of band students the college is now able to recruit as a result of a robust and growing program – which now supports both a concert band and a jazz band.

“Students such as Myriah and Bailey represent the ‘cream of the crop,’” Hopkins said. “I’m excited we will be welcoming them to McPherson College next year and benefitting from their impressive musical abilities.”