SUNY Potsdam Crane grad to appear in Dancing with the Stars' Mark Ballas music video
Friday, August 8, 2014 - 9:05 am

POTSDAM -- A SUNY Potsdam Crane School of Music graduate is on her way to Hollywood and will be featured in a music video.

After winning the national "I'm Miss Incredible" contest, Becki Ronen Walenz '12 has been chosen out of entrants from across the country to be featured in a music video alongside singer/songwriter Mark Ballas, who is well known for his years on "Dancing with the Stars."

Ballas announced the "I'm Miss Incredible" contest in conjunction with the launch of his new single, "Miss Incredible." The contest invited American women of all ages to submit one-minute video entries, describing why they are incredible. Walenz found out about the contest on Twitter, and sent in a short video, talking about her passion for trumpet performance.

"I first came across Mark on the TV show 'Dancing with the Stars,' of course, but eventually learned that his creativity was not limited to dancing," Walenz said. "Although it is a balance, and inspiration as a musician can come from anyone and anywhere, direct musical influences have always been very important to me, and that's essentially what Mark is. I am very eager to get to LA this weekend and learn from him and his team."

As the contest winner, Walenz will embark on an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles this Friday, to join in the music video shoot for "Miss Incredible," alongside Ballas.

A former Miss Kansas, Walenz earned her bachelor's degree from Kansas State University before going on to attend SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music. At Crane, she studied trumpet performance with Dr. John Ellis and recorded her debut album, "Concoction: Popular Solos for Student Trumpet Players," released by Madstop Records and the Crane Institute for Music Business. The album was designed specifically for trumpet students and their teachers to use as a listening and educational resource.

After completing her Master of Music degree at Crane, Walenz was named an instructor of trumpet at Kansas State, and is also an adjunct trumpet instructor at Kansas Weslyan University. In addition, she is the principal trumpet for the Salina Symphony Orchestra and is the column editor for the International Trumpet Guild's quarterly journal.

When asked about what advice she might share with Crane students, Walenz had this to say: "My advice would be to kick all your fears out the window. The more education I receive, the more I realize I have left to learn -- and when you're focused on becoming a successful collegiate trumpet professor and professional player like I am, there's definite fear associated with that concept. I wake up every morning and verbally remind myself that a new day is a new opportunity to learn."

To find out more about the "I'm Miss Incredible" contest and view Walenz's winning entry, visit

For more information about SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music, please visit