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McNally Smith and Schmitt Music Award Shell Lake Summer Camp Scholarships to Minnesota Teen Musicians

For a second consecutive year, McNally Smith College of Music and Schmitt Music have partnered to award a pair of talented Minnesota teens full-ride scholarships to the acclaimed music summer camps at Shell Lake Arts Center in northwestern Wisconsin.

Congratulations to Mikaylah Nash, 15, of Coon Rapids and Grady Westling, 16, of North St. Paul for being selected as the scholarship recipients for 2015! Keep an eye on in the future for details regarding upcoming Shell Lake scholarship contests.

Meet the Scholarship Winners

Mikaylah Nash has been involved in music since joining school band in 6th grade. The soon-to-be sophomore has played both alto and tenor saxophone at the Coon Rapids High School band and marching band. Outside of school, she has been singing and playing guitar for over a year.

Nash wants to start a band and write her own songs, and she’s hoping she might find other kids with similar goals at Shell Lake. She’d also like to become a professional saxophone player and become a music teacher. With so many interests, Nash is undecided on which camp to attend, but she’s certain she’ll get a lot out of whichever one she chooses. “Music is my biggest passion,” she says. “To have this opportunity to learn from and collaborate with instructors and campers who are equally as passionate is a dream come true.”

Nash’s band teacher, Brian Duffy, is her main inspiration on the saxophone. Tyler Joseph (Twenty One Pilots) and Frank Lero and Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) are her biggest idols as guitar players and singers. At the moment she’s listening to a lot of hard rock, pop punk and alternative music like Metallica, Arctic Monkeys and Cage The Elephant.

Grady Westling was eight years old when he started taking piano lessons. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Westling is entering his junior year as a percussionist in the North High School concert band, and he also plays guitar and sings outside of school. He currently takes guitar lessons with Shell Lake instructor Jason McLean, who has been teaching him sight-reading, scales and technique.

Westling hopes to start a band, write and record his own songs, and perform for audiences all over the world. He’ll get a head start on these goals this summer by using his Shell Lake scholarship award to attend Rock Band Camp. “The people at Shell Lake are really awesome,” Westling says. “I just love that I get to jam with other kids and learn from teachers that have similar music tastes as I do.”

Heavy rock and metal bands like Iron Maiden, Megadeth, and Avenged Sevenfold inspire Westling to keep improving at his craft every day. His personal idols include serious shredders like Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Herman Li (DragonForce) and Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen).

About Shell Lake Arts Center

Located 100 miles northeast of St. Paul, Shell Lake Arts Center has delivered nationally respected creative arts programming for both youth and adult learners for over 45 years. Featuring over a dozen music summer camps — ranging from Jazz Improvisation to Music Theater to Rock Band Camp — Shell Lake Arts Center provides campers an idyllic setting and access to master instructors and likeminded peers to help nurture their unique talents. Visit to learn more.

About Schmitt Music

Established in 1896, retailer Schmitt Music specializes in pianos, keyboards, organs, band and orchestra instruments, guitars and amplifiers, printed sheet music, music lessons, and more. Schmitt Music’s mission is to become their customers’ preferred resource for everything they need as they pursue their musical dreams. Visit to learn more.