Arranging music involves taking an existing piece of music and putting it together in a new way, like changing which instruments are supposed to be played, for instance. The arrangement Jeremy wrote used Joplin’s opera Treemonisha, which was composed in 1911 and is about African American culture in the late 1800s.
“It’s a hugely unique opera by a black American, about black Americans, for black Americans, something that is very unique,” he said. “With my particular arrangement and the overall concert, we wanted to bring masterpieces of composers who had been sidelined to the forefront.”
Jeremy caught the music bug as a student at York, which he attended from kindergarten through his senior year of high school. He started in performing arts in fifth grade, playing the trumpet, before switching to choir as a freshman. He has a strong Mapleton heritage, as his grandfather was a former choir director in the district, and his mother has been a second grade teacher at York for years.
“It certainly encouraged me to behave myself, that’s for sure,” Jeremy laughed.
Besides that extra motivation, Jeremy speaks fondly of his time at York and said it prepared him well for the professional world. Not only did it emphasize the need to work hard and always put your best foot forward, but he said it focused on shaping individual interests to avoid producing “cookie cutter” members of the workforce.
“I think that’s really essential in the higher ed and professional worlds, to make sure you’re never going halfway with anything, but instead making sure you’re always doing your best and succeeding with it,” he said. “York teachers always pushed their students to be self-reflective, individualistic, and to do whatever they decide to do at the highest possible level.”
Now he is a junior at UNC, working on dual bachelor’s degrees in vocal performance and K-12 music education. Primarily, his studies focus on making him a better singer, and he even performed a principal tenor role for the university in a November concert. On the other hand, he said he writes and arranges music for himself, a craft he started at Mapleton, where he arranged a few choral pieces for his high school choir. He said he was extraordinarily fortunate to have his Treemonisha arrangement chosen to be performed at a higher level.
After he graduates next year, he plans on pursuing graduate degrees, possibly in Europe. He’d then like to explore a career either performing opera or conducting, perhaps with Opera Colorado. During or after that, he said he’d also like to take his passion to the classroom as a teacher.
“Music and education have been two hugely important parts of my life and I really want to continue to be able to share that love I have for music with many students down the road,” he said. “Music is an excellent form of self-expression I’d love to impart to the next generation.”
Wherever he ends up, he said there’s no question it will be exactly where is supposed to be, thanks in part to his start in Mapleton.