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Finding My Voice at Oberlin


Tenor and Rubin Scholar Joshua Blue '16 recently told us what scholarships to attend Oberlin have meant to him and how they've changed his life.

Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, I played piano all my life, but it wasn’t until my sophomore year that a teacher opened my eyes to classical music and what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Of course I'd heard of Oberlin by the time I went to Los Angeles for a high school singing competition. But I also knew how much it cost. One of the judges of the competition was Professor Salvatore Champagne, and in a chance encounter after hearing me sing, he gave me his card and said I should come to Oberlin.

If it weren't for the Conservatory Dean's Scholarship, that would be the end of my Oberlin story. But through the generosity of Oberlin alumni, I could follow his advice and study here. Professor Champagne was the first teacher I’ve had who was also a tenor, someone who knew how my voice was growing, knew from the inside what that was like.

And at the end of the day, the relationship you have with your professor is the most important one. Great teachers, like we have here, look out for your best interests and are dedicated to your growth. In the same way, our alumni are committed to our success.

Whether it was helping me afford textbooks or a meal plan, or helping me cover the cost of being a part of Oberlin in Italy through work-study, the generosity of Oberlin alumni has made all the difference. The skills I've developed here and the experiences that have shaped my future and my voice wouldn’t have been possible without them.

I'm so thankful for the support of Oberlin alumni, and I’m proud to have earned yet another vote of confidence by being named by Marilyn Horne as a Rubin Scholar.



Photo by Yevhen Gulenko