Saugeen District Secondary School graduating student Josh Lesperance has earned an amazing opportunity to pursue a musical dream. Recently, Josh was among the mere 13 percent of applicants accepted into the University of Rochester’s world renowned Eastman School of Music in New York State.
After applying to music programs offered at several Canadian schools, Josh took a chance at shooting for the stars by seeking out one of the only two tuba positions available at Eastman. A meticulous application process involved the requirement to travel to Rochester for an audition, which included a music theory test, an interview, and a performance in front of a tuba instructor. To Josh’s surprise, he got the gig!
The beginnings of Josh’s musical passion can be traced back to his Grade 6 year at Northport Elementary School when each student in his class was tasked with picking up an instrument to learn. His initial instrument of choice was the euphonium, a smaller version of the tuba, before eventually gravitating toward the tuba on the bigger side of the brass family. From that point forward, Josh became fully immersed in music
throughout his elementary and high school years by participating in school bands, musicals, vocal classes, and just about every school music initiative imaginable.
Josh cites his teachers, specifically Andrea Rideout from Northport and Kerrie Lynn Boys at SDSS, who were fantastic mentors and key influencers in encouraging him to push boundaries and seek out new opportunities with his music. Their unyielding support helped him to extend his music study beyond school to lessons with private teachers. Two of those external teachers were Scott Irvine and Jane Maness, who also proved to be amazing sources of inspiration in encouraging Josh to be his best.
In further developing his talents and building his experience, Josh learned many valuable lessons and established some great connections through the honour bands, conductors, and musicians he met along the way at various provincial and national music events. As for his personal musical influences and tastes, they have ranged from classical conductors, such as Gustav Mahler, to non-classical contemporary artists, such as Beck, who have been made famous by their proclivities for exploring multiple genres.
Last but certainly not least, Josh credits his parents and family, who have been crucially important supporters in his musical journey. Their belief in his passion and abilities has been demonstrated in countless ways. He remains eternally thankful for their ongoing willingness and generosity in transporting him to the multitude of music events and opportunities he has taken part in.
At Eastman, students are immersed in an intensive program that serves to produce fully developed musicians upon graduation. Josh’s studies will focus on performance, music theory, music history, piano, and composition. While he has not yet decided on the aspect of music he will pursue beyond Eastman, Josh has great interest in both orchestra and solos, and hopes to eventually study in Europe due to its excellent music and arts focus.
On behalf of Bluewater District School Board, congratulations and best wishes for success are extended to Josh as he pursues his musical dream through this remarkable and rare opportunity at Eastman!