Wisconsin native Raquel Bruening (MM performance, 2017), has been involved in pageantry for nine years and has held a total of eight titles at the local, state, and national levels. Music has helped her be successful in the pageant world as much as pageantry has helped her in the world of music and academics. Raquel was a runner-up three times at the Miss Wisconsin pageant (through the Miss America Organization) and won a talent preliminary award one of those years performing selections from “Concertino” by Carl Maria von Weber. Also playing that piece, she was the talent winner at Wisconsin’s Junior Miss 2010 and was second runner up. Last summer, she was named USA National Talented Miss at the USA National Miss pageant by performing parts of “Rhapsody In Blue” by George Gershwin. Raquel has earned over $9,500 to date in scholarship monies that helped pay the tuition of her undergraduate degree in music education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Pageants have not only helped her financially, but she has grown in her communication skills, stage presence, interview experience, and so many other necessary career attributes.

Giving back to community is also a main aspect of pageantry, and Raquel has made music advocacy and volunteerism her platform and named it “My Gift, Your Song.” She has volunteered by performing in nursing homes, schools, children’s centers, and a prison multiple times. She has also spoken to teachers, students, parents, and administrators about music advocacy promoting the social, emotional, and intellectual benefits that music has on children. Raquel is not done with pageantry yet, so keep an eye out for what this UNCG clarinet performance student + pageant girl does next!