MHSA Jazz Ensemble receives fifth recognition from DownBeat Magazine

May 2, 2019

Students in the Milwaukee High School of the Arts (MHSA) Vocal Jazz Ensemble are celebrating after being recognized in DownBeat Magazine’s 42nd national Student Music Awards competition. The ensemble comprises the most advanced students enrolled in the vocal music program at MHSA. The group was honored for Outstanding Performance—Large Vocal Jazz Group from performing arts high schools.

The Downbeat Magazine awards are considered among the top student music competitions in the world. The competition offers categories for junior high, high school, and university music students and bands. The judges, comprised of professional musicians and educators, assess entrants based on criteria that include musicianship, creativity, improvisation, technique, sound quality and balance, excitement, and authority. The awards were announced in the magazine’s June issue.

The award earned by the MHSA students this year marks the fifth time since 2014 that the MHSA Vocal Jazz Ensemble has been recognized by this prestigious organization. “We are thrilled to see our Milwaukee Public Schools students’ names listed along with the best and brightest young musicians from around the world,” said Raymond Roberts, vocal music director at MHSA. “Keep your eye on these brilliant young singers. They will continue to share their artistic excellence in ways that enrich our city for generations to come.”

MHSA students select an arts-focused major (creative writing, dance, music, theater, or visual art) and receive at least two class hours of instruction per day focused on their major. Students commit to one area of the arts for all four years at the school. In addition to its focus on the arts, MHSA provides an academically challenging educational program that includes Advanced Placement and honors courses. Students may select from more than 12 AP courses for both high school and college credit.

To learn more about Milwaukee High School of the Arts, visit the school webpage at