2 FSCJ grads heading to renowned music school

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two Florida State College at Jacksonville students graduating this month are about to be awarded their associate degrees. They are leaving FSCJ to continue working toward their bachelor's degrees elsewhere, to ultimately find work in their chosen career field: vocal performance.

Frank L. Humphrey III and Meagan Ball have both been accepted at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in New York City and will study vocal performance.

This is something Humphrey and Ball have been working toward for years. From childhood, both had a goal of careers as vocal performers.

It's not the typical career goal for most community/state college students, but don't think they're not serious, and don't think it's not work. Ball said it was a conscious decision that, for her, singing is not a hobby. It's her life.

"I've been working toward this for at least six years," said Meagan Ball, who is now 20. She's taken private lessons for years, regularly sung in competitions, at invitationals, at Disney World and in intercollegiate choral festivals.

Humphrey has been singing in church since childhood. He played clarinet in elementary school, until a teacher heard him sing and told him to put away his clarinet, he was meant to be a singer.

Professor Pamela Helton, vocal instructor for both students, has great faith in them and was instrumental in their decisions to apply to Manhattan School of Music. It's one of the nation's premier music conservatories. It attracts many who happily land in careers in everything from classical music to jazz to education and the business side of the music industry.

Notable alumni include scores of vocal performers, such as countertenor rising star Anthony Roth Costanzo, and instrumentalists at the Metropolitan Opera and other distinguished opera companies, symphonies and orchestras around the world. Alumni with more recognizable names include Harry Connick Jr., Dave Grusin, Herbie Hancock, Herbie Mann, Hugh Masekela.

"In classical music, they don't take the half-hearted; they don't play games," said Ball.

Hard work is a large part of it, but it helps to have natural talent.

Humphrey makes it sound deceptively easy when talking about his audition process. His preliminary application included an audition tape with vocal selections in English, German and Italian. The preliminary application got him in for the live audition and interview.

Humphrey loves singing opera and would be comfortable also singing musical theater of the Broadway variety. Ball has her eyes set on an opera career.

Megan and Frank head to Manhattan School of Music in the fall.  To learn more about FSCJ's music program visit FSCJ.edu.

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