Mr. Juneteenth Jr. shares how music helped him win pageant

Posted at 5:43 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 06:43:48-04

MILWAUKEE — 11-year-old Ethan Myles has a passion for playing the violin.

“I like learning the pieces. I really like creating the sound, it feels really nice,” he says. “It’s just really satisfying. You work on something and it ends up sounding nice in the end.”

Last year he competed to be Mr. Juneteenth Jr. and played a song as part of his submission.

“I didn’t think I was going to win, originally. I thought I would get some sort of place on it, but I didn’t think I’d win originally,” Ethan recalls.

His mom, Cree, says she’s glad he has that in his back pocket.

“As he’s going through life and trying stuff, he can be like, ‘oh I can try stuff and be successful. Remember when I won this pageant?’” Cree says. “I think it’s important to remember stuff like that.”

She’s also glad Ethan got to compete with kids with such diverse skills. Participants performed everything from musical ensembles to spoken word readings.

“It’s totally important to celebrate and for people to remember that, because Black kids do all types of stuff,” Cree says.

But the best part of winning – at least for Ethan – was pretty simple.

“I wanted to enter Juneteenth because of money, was my initial reason,” he admits with a laugh.

Ethan earned a $2,000 scholarship and treated himself to a new laptop. But the rest he put away for college – something he’s already planning for.

“Some sort of music university,” Ethan says. "I don’t know exactly which one yet, but some sort of music university.”

Ethan will pass on his crown this Saturday at the Freedom Ball. If you’d like to support scholarships just like the one Ethan won, you can bid on amazing auction items all week during our Freedom Ball Auction. Just follow this link.

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