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To the tune of college tuition

Scholarships for musicians aren’t quite the same as scholarships for athletes. Recruiters don’t stand on the sidelines at concerts and make notes about players’ skills, and colleges typically don’t schedule "signing days" for music students to autograph letters of intent.

Nonetheless, the scholarships represent accomplishments that are equally worthy of accolades and outward praise.

The graduating class at Park City High School (PCHS) includes 29 students who participate in band, orchestra and percussion classes. According to Bret Hughes, assistant director of bands, 22 of those students plan to continue playing their instruments beyond high school. Six seniors have received scholarship funds to play music in college.

Chris Croce received $30,000 a year to study at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. "I absolutely love their program and their professors, and it is such a great fit for me," he says.

Croce is a bassist in the PCHS Varsity Jazz Band. He also plays French horn in the Wind Ensemble and Pep Band. Since 2008, he has served as the associate director of the Crescent Super Band, a Utah-based band comprised entirely of young musicians. The group was recently named the Best Youth Big Band in the Country by DownBeat magazine.

Croce plans to major in music entertainment industries and business at the University of Miami. Double-majoring will allow him to develop as a player while learning what it takes to make it in the music business.

"It is very hard to make a living just being a player, but being able to work the business side as well as being a player will open up a lot of opportunities," he says. He is also considering pursuing a degree in jazz pedagogy, which would allow him to teach at the college level.

Charlie Actor received a $5,000 music scholarship to American University in Washington, D.C.

Actor plays jazz trumpet in the PCHS Varsity Jazz Band as well as concert baritone, or euphonium, in the Wind Ensemble. He’s been playing trumpet for seven years and baritone for five.

To audition for the scholarship, he sent in concert footage of himself playing both instruments. "American was my top choice, but I wasn’t able to go without the music scholarship," he says.

He is currently enrolled as a music major but isn’t sure what he’ll end up studying. American University offers a variety of bands and Actor says he will "definitely participate" in a performing ensemble.

Stuart Johnson received a $500 marching band scholarship to the University of Utah. He has played the snare drum since sixth grade and plays with the PCHS Wind and Percussion Ensembles as well as the Symphonic Band.

Johnson auditioned for the University of Utah’s percussion ensemble in February and had his drumline audition two weeks ago. "I had gotten to see the percussion ensemble a couple times and they’re really good," he says. "Musically, I decided [the University of Utah] was the better choice out of the colleges I’d gotten into."

Adam Alexander also received scholarship money to play music at the University of Utah. He’s been playing trumpet since fourth grade and participates in the PCHS Varsity Jazz Band as well as the Wind Ensemble.

Alexander has received an $800 marching band scholarship. When school starts in the fall, he’ll have the opportunity to audition for the University of Utah’s wind and percussion ensembles. He plans to minor in music and says the high school’s music programs have "greatly prepared" him to play music at the college level.

Joey DeMondo, who plays trombone in the Varsity Jazz Band and euphonium in the Wind Ensemble, agrees that his experiences at PCHS have been invaluable. "It gave me a strong foundation," he says, adding, "It becomes more personal at the higher levels you learn more than just what the teachers tell you."

DeMondo will attend Snow College will a music scholarship covering his full tuition for the first year, plus $500 to use on college expenses. He plans to get his associate’s degree in music performance and business and to pursue a master’s degree in music education so he can become a teacher himself.

Last but not least, Caitlin Carmack has received a substantial merit scholarship to study music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music at The Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Md. She has been playing piano for 11 years and is the pianist for the PCHS Orchestra.

Carmack plans to pursue bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and recording arts at Johns Hopkins, which was her top choice school. She has also been chosen to perform a piano concerto with the Utah Symphony on Tuesday, May 25.

The high school has several concerts to showcase its music students scheduled before the end of the academic year. A jazz concert will be held on Wednesday, May 19, at 7 p.m.; a joint choir and orchestra concert will be held on Wednesday, May 26, at 7 p.m.; and the concert bands and the percussion program will perform on Thursday, May 27, at 7 p.m. All concerts are held in the Eccles Center and are free and open to the public.


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