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Sources: Becki Ronen, 316-655-6477, bronen@k-state.edu;
Todd Holmberg, 785-532-6425, trholm@k-state.edu;
and Jeanne McKenzie, 785-532-3933, jeannem@k-state.edu
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or call 785-532-6415.
Note to editor: Ronen is a graduate of Buhler High School and is a former resident of Hutchinson.
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415, kmayes@k-state.edu

Friday, June 12, 2009

AS MISS KANSAS 2009, K-STATE TRUMPET PLAYER WILL BE A VOCAL ADVOCATE FOR ARTS EDUCATION

MANHATTAN -- As a girl, Becki Ronen, Miss Kansas 2009, said she was quite shy. So when fifth grade rolled around and she was asked which instrument she wanted to play, she picked a loud one.

"I chose to play the trumpet because it was loud and I thought that people would listen to me, that they'd give me the time of day," said Ronen, a Kansas State University senior in trumpet performance, Buhler.

Ronen -- who earned the state crown June 6 -- is shy no more, and she credits music with that transformation. To show her gratitude, she'll use her high-profile title to promote the importance of the arts in Kansas schools.

"Because of the economic difficulties we are facing today, school systems are having to cut extracurricular activities in order to be financially stable. They ask, 'What brings in more money, a band concert or a football game?'" Ronen said. "Arts education is important because it provides a creative outlet for our youth while improving overall test scores in the classroom at the same time. Students who are active in arts activities are more involved in their community, more successful in school, and have stronger people skills.

As the daughter of two former K-State Singers, Ronen said that the arts – and music in particular – have played a major role in so many of her successes that she wants other children to have the same opportunities she did.

"Children today need a release, a time during the day where they can be creative and show their unique personalities," she said. "As a little girl, I knew I could always run to the piano or to my trumpet if I needed to get away from something that was bothering me. Music was my biggest healer and greatest medicine for every problem I faced."

As a student, Ronen also has spent time at K-State promoting the arts. She works as a customer service representative for K-State's McCain Auditorium and is student liaison to the Friends of McCain, the venue's board.

"Becki is extremely passionate about her chosen field and is a wonderful example of how an artist is able to positively affect others with their love of the art, simply by sharing their incredible talent," said Jeanne McKenzie, McCain's ticket manager. "Becki is not just talk; she works as hard providing opportunities for others to enjoy all aspects of the arts as she does on her own music."

Todd Holmberg, McCain director, said that as the student liaison to the Friends of McCain, Ronen is key to getting more students involved in McCain.

"Becki has been charged with helping the board establish a student support group for the Friends of McCain," he said. "She will lead the board in identifying a mission for the new student group, recruit members and execute that vision.

"Her wonderful people skills, intelligence and fun demeanor will help her in her role as Miss Kansas and will contribute to her success in whatever career she pursues after her K-State studies have concluded," he said.

Ronen will compete for the title of Miss America in the January 2010 pageant, which includes appearing on a special reality TV show tied to the pageant.

Ronen is a member of K-State's chapter of Mortar Board, a national senior honorary and performed internationally as a member of K-State trumpet and brass ensembles.

Long term, Ronen is planning a career as a trumpet soloist.