Variety scholarship helps teen with autism and dyslexia sing heart out
A GREENWOOD teenager has not let COVID-19 stop him singing his heart out.
Although the pandemic affected rehearsals and live performances, Joshua White (14) continued to take online classes with his singing teacher and do choir practice with recorded rehearsals provided by WA Young Voices choir.
During the period of isolation caused by restrictions, Joshua was the only child to participate in a virtual choir established by Joondalup resident and composer Rod Christian.
Mr Christian recorded Joshua in a professional studio, composing and recording a special song with the virtual choir for WA Day 2020.
The young classical singer already had a long list of professional experiences under his belt, having performed in the children’s chorus for WA Opera Company’s TOSCA and Hansel and Gretel Opera in the Park.
He also performed a solo set at Perth’s FRINGE WORLD Festival this year at Kalamunda Karnival in the Hills.
Joshua was one of the 53 WA children living with sickness, disadvantage or disability who received a 2020 Variety Heart Scholarship to pursue their talent in sport, the arts or education.
He lives with autism and dyslexia, and has to work hard to read music and convey the emotional depth of songs in his repertoire.
He has found singing gave him an opportunity to experience language in a different way.
“I don’t like the term disability; I prefer the term diff-ability,” he said.
“I enjoy classical singing because it comes from the heart, and I guess I get to express my feelings.”
Joshua has continued to excel over the past few years, with Variety WA’s funding helping him attend the audition-only Gondwana National Choral School in Sydney for the third year in a row in January.
His 2020 scholarship also helped cover vocal lesson fees and choir fees.
Variety WA chief executive Tony Hume said the scholarships helped parents dealing with financial pressure to provide the opportunity for their children to embrace their passions.
“There are some really talented kids living with different challenges who can really benefit from the support we offer as they pursue their dreams,” he said.
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