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Cheney senior wins Chase Youth Award in arts and creativity


John McCallum

Cheney High School senior Connor Bichler shows his Chase Youth Award for arts and creativity.

Cheney High School senior Connor Bichler has been named a 2013 Chase Youth awards winner in the category of arts and creativity. He is the first Cheney student to win a Chase award since 2007.

Bichler received his award at the annual Chase Youth Awards program Monday, March 11 at the Fox Theatre in Spokane.

Chase Youth awards are given annually in eight categories each with three divisions: elementary, middle and high school. According to the commission’s website, winners in the arts and creativity category earn their award through “Enriching others through imaginative skills and originality in such activities as acting, dance, music, visual arts, or writing.”

Bichler has been playing piano for over 11 years, classically trained in Suzuki style, which he said is a style focusing on learning by ear rather than by sight reading. He has played percussion during his four years in high school, playing center snare/section leader on the marching band drum line along with the Percussion 1 Ensemble for three years and the Jazz 1 Ensemble his junior year.

“There are a lot of accomplished kids out there so it’s quite an honor to be nominated,” Bichler said of the award.

The senior said he hopes to pursue further music education in college, and has auditioned for the music program at Whitworth University along with looking at the music program at Eastern Washington University. He said he also has an interest in history.

“I wouldn’t feel like myself if I didn’t pursue music in college,” he added.

Bichler’s father Jeff said the Chase Youth nomination came from the family with the support of his high school music teachers. Right now Connor and the rest of the Blackhawks music department students are preparing for the annual state percussion competition this spring in Ellensburg.

John McCallum can be reached at

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