Sometimes in life, we have a chance to ‘grab the brass ring’ and realize our dream. Some succeed at it while others, due to circumstances beyond their control, may not.
Local student, Josh Lesperance, has that chance.
A Grade 12 student at Saugeen District Secondary School, Josh has been playing the tuba since he was 12 years old. From the first time he heard it, he knew it was for him. Call it destiny or fate, but according to tuba experts, he is far beyond his years in his playing.
Today, one might say that he rarely has time for anything but the tuba. He currently plays with the Hannaford Youth Brass Band in Toronto, the Port Elgin Community Band, the Southampton Community Band, and the Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS) Concert Band, the Big Band, the Brass Quintet, and will be playing with the Pit Band for the upcoming SDSS production of The Music Man.
With a goal of pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Performance on the tuba, Josh has been accepted to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. This is not any ordinary school of music, but is among the crème de la crème of schools.
The school is highly selective and the total student body, including graduate students, is just slightly more than 900 total for the entire school. It has been ranked in the top 10 by US News and World Report and the competition is steep but alumni have gone on to become members of the London Symphony Orchestra, winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, Grammy award winners and renowned stars such as opera diva Renee Fleming.
International students comprise approximately 25% of Eastman’s student body, and come from all over the world, including South Korea, China, Southeast Asia, Europe, Canada, and South America.
Auditions for acceptance are anything but easy. For tuba, the audition included the following:
- One Bordogni melodic study
- One Kopprasch technical etude, either #17 or #3
- All scale
- Excerpts: Wagner, “Meistersinger” Overture (Letter J to the end), Berlioz Hungarian March, and Ride of the Valkyrie
- Performance applicants must also play: the cadenza from the Hindemith Sonata (mvt. 3) and either the Vaughn Williams Concerto (mvt. 1 & 2) or the Hindemith Sonata (mvt. 1 & 2); Music Education applicants whose instrument is tuba must play the Edward Gregson Concerto (mvt. 1 only) and the cadenza from Mvt. 3, Hindemith Sonata
Not only did Josh audition but he was accepted – only one of two tuba players to be accepted into Eastman.
Josh has been studying privately with Jane Maness and Scott Irvine, of the Canadian Operation Company, for the past four years, and has participated in Master classes with musicians such as Carol Jantch, James Gourlay, Stephen Wick, and Alain Trudel.
His achievements at such an early age are impressive.
- Received the National Arts Centre Outstanding Brass Musician award in 2017 and 2018 at MusicFest Nationals
- Received the Canadian Band Association Diana Brault Memorial Scholarship in 2017.
- Competed in the 2018 Brassroots Youth Solo Competition where he won first place and had the privilege of then being able to perform a solo accompanied by Brassroots in one of their concerts.
- Has represented the Grey County Kiwanis Festival of Music for the past three years at Provincials where he received a gold medal each year.
- Has completed his Levels 6, 8, 9 and 10 Royal Conservatory exams with First Class Honours with Distinction on each exam, and received the Level 8 Brass and Woodwinds Gold Medal in 2018.
- Attended the Inter-provincial Music Camp in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and Southampton Summer Music in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
- Has played with the National Youth Band of Canada, the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra, and the Ontario Provincial Honour Band.
Musicians throughout the area understand the opportunity in life that Josh Lesperance has and will be performing a fundraising concert for him on June 22nd. In the meantime, a Go Fund Me page is also being set up by a friend.
For a larger view of poster, CLICK on Image
A definition of ‘destiny’ is “Passion and having a true love for what you’re doing and an unwavering sense of direction is what fuels your inner fire and propels you forward to find your purpose”. Josh Lesperance has known what that is since he was 12.
NOTE: A ‘Go Fund Me’ page has been set up to help Josh realize his dream.