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Warwick Valley students participate in summer enrichment programs in their artistic fields

on November 7, 2016
Four students who participated in summer enrichment program.

Students who participated in summer enrichment programs are, left to right, Pierson Hall, Daniel McQuade, Chloe Borthwick and Preston Grzegorzewski.

Four Warwick Valley High School students with a variety of artistic interests and talents participated in summer enrichment programs in the film and music industries, and the performing arts.

Chloe Borthwick, a junior, and Preston Grzegorzewski, a senior, were two of 142 high school students selected nationwide—and two of 31 in New York—to participate in the prestigious Grammy Camp summer programs, sponsored by the Grammy Foundation. Chloe and Preston were specifically selected to attend the songwriting and the audio engineering track programs, respectively.

In July, Chloe and Preston joined their New York student counterparts at the Converse Rubber Tracks recording studio in Brooklyn, NY for a nine-day residential, full immersion experience. Program instructors included industry leaders such as Grammy-winner singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey and jazz musician Leslie Drayton, both founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire; professionals with Billboard Magazine and Rubber Tracks; and faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music. Involved in every step of the creative process, the students held their own “launch party” at the end of the program. They performed their original music, displayed their music videos, and pitched their promotion and plans to presumptive clients and curators.

“The Grammy Camp allowed me to collaborate with other artists and opened many doors for my musical career,” said Chloe. “I experienced all facets of the music industry including songwriting, singing, playing instruments and working alongside others. It helped me understand the industry as a whole.”

“My experience at Grammy Camp allowed me to strengthen my skills as an audio engineer and to make valuable connections with professionals in my field. Guest appearances by artists were also extremely valuable. I was able to see and to ask how to apply knowledge in the music and entertainment industry,” Preston said.

“Chloe and Preston had the opportunity to collaborate and record with talented musicians and engineers, and they were mentored by seasoned music industry professionals. This is unlike any other program in this country, and they feel very lucky to get such a head start on their careers,” said Keely Blaikner, high school music teacher and orchestra director.

Pierson Hall, a 6th grader at Warwick Valley Middle School, auditioned with students from around the world for the Boston Ballet Summer Dance Program and was awarded a full-merit scholarship to attend. Pierson trained for five-weeks under the guidance of the renowned ballet teacher and coach Peter Stark, Associate Director of Boston Ballet II and Head of Boston Ballet School Men’s Program. He was housed at Boston University and commuted by subway to the Boston Ballet five days a week.

“I was very excited to attend this program,” Pierson said. “I received excellent training and learned many new tricks and tips to help me become a better dancer. I also had a lot of fun making new friends and exploring the city of Boston.”

Pierson has been a student at the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center for over five years. He attends classes five days a week and has performed with the New York City Ballet.

Dan McQuade, a senior, participated in a two-week program at Prosthetic Renaissance in Englewood, NJ, a state of the art facility that attracts some of the best artists in the field, and counts iconic filmmakers, motion pictures companies and TV networks as clients. Daniel explored special effects makeup, and, working with variety of molding, casting and sculpting techniques, he learned how to create a “life cast” of the human head, and to sculpt and apply prosthetic features to transform an actor’s facial structure.

“The Prosthetic Renaissance Master Class gave me a better insight into what I need to do to get into the film industry. It was a big boost in motivation to challenge and push myself to do better with each makeup I create,” Daniel said.

The youngest participant in the prosthetic class, Daniel is also the 2016 recipient of the Orange County Arts Council “Youth with Exceptional Promise” award.

“They are all amazing students, with amazing talents,” said Ms. Blaikner.  “The experiences they had this summer honed their talents even more.  They saw the opportunities, and they took time out of their summer breaks to work extra hard and grow in their artistic pursuits. They are fully deserving of recognition.”

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