Minnesota Varsity: Where Are They Now? - Rebecca Yeh

by Christine Sweet, Minnesota Public Radio
December 6, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Where Are They Now? spotlights Minnesota Varsity Featured and Showcase Artists from 2011 and 2012! It's been fun catching up with them to ask what they're doing now and what they remember and value most about their Minnesota Varsity experience. We're pleased to share their inspiring stories with you. And we're proud of every student across the state who's entered Minnesota Varsity and shared their music-making with us and with their friends, families, and communities.

Today, a visit with Rebecca Yeh:
2011 Featured Artist
Age: 19
Hometown: Nisswa
Student at: Ohio Northern University, Ada OH

"I am working towards my Doctorate of Pharmacy degree at Ohio Northern University. After completing the six-year program, I am hoping to work in a hospital somewhere in Minnesota.

After graduating with honors from Brainerd High School, I was named Miss Brainerd Lakes after competing in a local pageant. I had never thought myself a pageant girl, nor did I think that competing in one would do me any good. However, I was surprised to find that I was about to begin journey that would impact the rest of my life.

The pageant I competed in falls under the Miss America Organization pageant system. Each contestant is required to compete in five areas of competition: Swimsuit, Evening Gown, On-Stage Question, Talent, and Interview. In addition, each contestant must choose a platform she feels strongly about. It was obvious to me that I would play my violin. I chose to perform Henri Vieuxtemp's Souvenir D'Amerique, a spinoff of the well-known song 'Yankee Doodle.' It was definitely a crowd pleaser, and I enjoyed every moment performing it. Not only was the talent choice clear to me, but so was my platform. My older brother, Phil, has a moderately severe form of autism called Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Growing up, I understood the impact that would have on the rest of his life, our family's life, and all other individuals impacted by autism. My personal platform, A Voice for Autism, has been something I feel compelled to promote and share with everyone I can. One in every 88 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than juveniles diabetes, pediatric AIDS and childhood cancer combined. My personal website has more information, including the video I made on my brother's life with autism.

The title of Miss Brainerd Lakes led me into the Miss Minnesota Pageant this past June. I was honored to be first-runner-up to the title of Miss Minnesota! It was a wonderful feeling to be able to use my music to work towards the goal of spreading autism awareness and impacting the future of my own brother. The violin has opened up doors for me that I would never have imagined. Shortly after competing at Miss Minnesota in June, I decided to compete again for another local title so that I would be able to compete at Miss Minnesota one more time. I won the title of Miss Northwest, located in Detroit Lakes, MN in July. As a current titleholder, I have been sharing my music and knowledge of autism with service organizations, community events, and even here at Ohio Northern University. Look for me next year at the 2013 Miss Minnesota Pageant! Who knows, this journey could lead me right onto the Miss America stage as your Miss Minnesota!

Minnesota Varsity had an enormous impact on my life. Receiving notification that I was one of the Featured Artists was one of the most amazing feelings I have ever felt. Balancing music, cross country running, track and field, a social life, and a heavy load of classes in middle school and high school was not easy. I always told myself that hard work, dedication, and perseverance would pay off, and it did. Sharing my music with others gives me the most joy. Hearing my performance of Bach's Adagio from Sonata No. 1 on MPR was a rewarding experience, and I was humbled by the influence it had on so many other people who listened to it.

Minnesota Varsity gave me an amazing opportunity, and I am forever thankful for the recognition it gives young individuals who put in the time, perseverance, and passion to make great music."

Bach's Adagio from Sonata No. 1 - Rebecca Yeh

About Minnesota Varsity, featuring Rebecca Yeh

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