By Ryan Christner
The Hutchinson News, Kan.
Becki Walenz hopes to shatter the brass ceiling.
Through her schooling and professional career, the 26-year-old Hutchinson native and Buhler High School graduate has noticed a dearth of female trumpet players.
Now, Walenz is turning her desire to ebb that trend into a rare opportunity.
A fan of entertainer Mark Ballas, best known for his role among the troupe of professional dancers on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” Walenz recently “stumbled across” a message on Ballas’ Twitter account seeking entrants for a contest called “I’m Miss Incredible.”
Exploring further, Walenz discovered the contest was a promotion for a new song by Ballas called “Miss Incredible,” which according to the contest website, immissincredible.com, was inspired by Ballas’ upbringing by an “incredible woman.”
With a chance to be picked to be flown to Los Angeles to take part in the filming of a video for the song, the contest sought “incredible, talented girls and women who are doing amazing things to enhance their lives and the lives of others,” the website states.
So, “on a whim,” Walenz submitted a minute-long video detailing her credentials as a trumpet instructor at Kansas State University and Kansas Wesleyan University and performer with the KSU Faculty Brass Quintet and Salina Symphony Orchestra, and explaining the lack of women in the testosterone-saturated trumpet world.
Walenz’s words struck a chord, and she soon was contacted and asked for more information about herself. Less than six hours later, she was told she had won.
“Just to hear from them, I thought, ‘Wow. What are the odds?” she said. “I just never thought in a million-bazillion years that they’d pick me.”
Walenz will fly to L.A. on Friday, be on set for the video shoot all day Saturday and return to Kansas on Sunday.