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Recent grad wins second DownBeat award

June 9, 2008

KALAMAZOO--An April graduate of the Western Michigan University School of Music has won an award from DownBeat magazine, her second in as many years.

Aubrey Johnson has been named College Co-Winner in the Jazz Vocalist category in DownBeat's 31st Annual Student Music Awards. Last year, the Lee Honor's College member was singled out for Jazz Vocalist Outstanding Performance honors.

Johnson, who is from Green Bay, Wis., graduated in the spring and has studied voice with Diana Spradling, a WMU adjunct professor of music. She majored in jazz studies and was section leader in WMU's award-winning vocal jazz ensemble Gold Company. She currently is pursuing her master's degree at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

WMU has had an extended run of success in DownBeat's student contest, often taking multiple awards. Results of this year's contest are published in the magazine's June issues, which is now on newsstands.

"Students and ensembles at WMU have now won more than 100 Student Music Awards from DownBeat magazine since 1984," says Dr. Stephen Zegree, the WMU Bobby McFerrin Professor of Jazz and Gold Company director. "That puts us in the top three among colleges and universities nationwide."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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