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Giving Voice To A Dream

First-year student to sing with Boston Symphony and Pops orchestras

Josh Shilo, ’27, discovered his passion for singing as a young child. Now a college freshman, Josh is about to achieve a goal he’s held for almost as long: performing regularly with the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

Josh was recently accepted into the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, a group of approximately 200 highly talented singers that accompanies the orchestras.

“It feels so surreal,” said Josh, a Bridgewater State University music education major from Salem. “It’s been a dream of mine for 10-plus years. To have accomplished this before I’m even 20 is a great feeling. I can only go up from here.” 

When Josh performs with the chorus for the first time this spring, he’ll be among the youngest musicians on the Symphony Hall stage. But he’s ready for the spotlight thanks to years of practice and lessons this semester with part-time music faculty member Albert Craig.

“This is such a unique opportunity for him and a great opportunity for a young singer to be able to participate in such a world-renowned chorus,” Craig said. 

Josh brings a rich deep voice, the understanding of musical phrasing and dynamics, and the willingness to continually improve, Craig said.

Josh, who sang from Handel’s Messiah and Brahms’ Requiem for his Tanglewood audition, worked with Craig on the pieces.

“He has been extremely helpful in preparing for my audition,” Josh said. “I’ve improved dramatically from my first day. It’s really thanks to him and the insight he provided.”

Josh draws musical inspiration from his mom, who teaches healthcare studies at Salem State University and used to perform in church choirs.

“My mom lost her singing voice because of a stroke,” Josh said. “That pushed me to continue to sing and pursue the highest level (of performing) so I can sing for my mom.”

Josh, who came to Bridgewater because of its strong education program and opportunities to conduct research as an undergraduate, is already highly involved on campus. He performed in the theatrical production of Dracula and participates in the chorale, chess club, WBIM radio station and the sign language club.

Bridgewater, he said, is the perfect school to help him achieve his goals of teaching high school music and, eventually, following in his mom’s footsteps by becoming a professor.

“The music instruction is fantastic,” he said of BSU. “There really is no better place for me to be going to school.”

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