Poco a Poco’s Young Artist program provides hands-on training for young musicians currently in eighth through 12th grades.
Every student receives private voice lessons and sings in the festival and community choirs. Although the week has an emphasis on vocal and choral techniques, it is not necessary for a student’s primary instrument to be voice.
Core classes include piano and theory lessons, with electives ranging from African percussion, composition, conducting, Chinese meditation practices and movement, among others. Students will receive more than 35 hours of training from world-class faculty in private sessions and small group classes, while participating in master classes, roundtable discussions and concerts that are free and open to the public.
Executive Director Kate Tombaugh, who is a mezzo-soprano, creates a personalized schedule and assigns a solo for each young artist. The faculty-to-student ratio is intimate at 1:3.
For five consecutive years, Poco a Poco has trained 68 young artists representing 27 schools and homeschool units in total, with growth shown over the course of a week. Poco a Poco’s individualistic approach allows its faculty to serve a wide range of student experiences and abilities – 56% of eligible young artists have chosen to return to train as a young artist with Poco a Poco for a second year or more.
This year’s festival week is from June 18 to 25, in Streator. Young Artist training days will occur June 18 and June 20 to 25. Special events will include a faculty concert (Poco a Poco’s first-ever International Make Music Day event), the student showcase, community concert (featuring Poco’s community choir and inaugural community guitar ensemble), and a closing performance with the Chicago Shout Section Big Band in the Streator City Park.
Tuition is $295 for young artists. Financial assistance is available, made possible through local foundations and school boosters programs, as well as private donors. Visit Poco a Poco’s website, www.pocoapoco.org, to fill out the application. Admissions are rolling, so early application is encouraged.
Kate Tombaugh and her board and staff are available to answer questions via email or in live time by request. For information, call Tombaugh at 309-830-6103 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.