MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin High School rising senior Thomas Stewart IV’s dedication and passion for singing has led him to be accepted into the largest, most comprehensive summer music program in the world through his participation in Campus Club Milledgeville (CCM).
Stewart is among nearly 1,000 participants at all levels of musical abilities from across the country and around the world receiving scholarships to attend the summer program at the world’s most prestigious institution for the study of contemporary music in Boston at the Berklee College School of Music.
“I’ve been singing since I was 10 years old. I really started trying to develop my vocals when I got to the eighth grade in chorus. Ever since, I’m trying to develop and learn different styles and techniques to strengthen my vocals and be a better singer,” said Stewart, who has been a CCM student since last year. “Campus Club has been very supportive and they’re the reason I found out about Berklee and they pushed me to audition last year, which opened up a lot of doors for me. I appreciate the opportunity Campus Club has given me and hopefully help me showcase my talent to the world.”
The Five-Week Summer Performance Program is set to begin July 6 and conclude Aug. 9 at the Berklee College School of Music facility where young musicians of all instruments and styles will play in ensembles, develop improvisational and reading skills, improve their technique during weekly private lessons and enjoy lectures and demonstrations by well-known faculty and visiting artists.
“I was accepted last year, but this will be my first time experiencing the program. I will get to experience real college life, attend workshops on songwriting and performing, and at the end we will have a big concert to show off what we’ve learned over the five weeks. I’m really looking forward to the music and performing,” Stewart said. “I’m also interested in networking because it’s a very diverse program and I would love to keep in contact with the people I will meet. I hope to have gained more knowledge with the theory and music foundation I’ve started to build. I want to go to Berklee to study song-writing and music production after I graduate. Hopefully I’ll be able to audition for a scholarship.”
Since the scholarship covers the tuition fee, Stewart is currently raising funds to help cover the cost of travel and lodging.
“This program is worth $12,000. Tuition is paid for but [Stewart] has to pay for room and board, which is about $3,500. We’re asking for support through donations so he has no cares while he’s there,” CCM Executive Director Gregory Barnes said. “This opportunity for [Stewart] is extraordinary for his college resume and to be able to audition and compete against young people across the nation for the scholarship is amazing. [Stewart] deserves this; he’s a hard-working young man with great talent and has great family support. He has all of the intangibles needed to be successful in any profession he chooses.”
Though a total of five CCM students have been accepted into the Berklee summer program, Stewart will be the third CCM student to represent Milledgeville-Baldwin County and experience the program first-hand.
“This opportunity is exactly what we’ve been saying for years about this area. We have very talented young people who just need a chance. Campus Club Milledgeville is able to hone their skills and take them places to express their skills,” Barnes said. “Berklee has seen that Campus Club Milledgeville helps bring talented youth to their program and in turn they help us prepare talented youth for their program. We’re very appreciative of the Berklee College of Music for having this type of confidence in Campus Club Milledgeville in bringing forth talented youth.”
For more information about CCM, or to donate funds for Stewart’s trip, call Barnes at 478-454-1831, visit www.campusclubmilledgeville.org, or like the Thomas Stewart CCM for — Berklee Facebook page.
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