Kareem has been singing classical music since the seventh grade. At age 14, he began attending the Suitland High School Center of Visual and Performing Arts. After graduation, he wanted to further his education in voice studies, but he could not afford to attend the colleges that had accepted him into their music schools.
Kareem yearned to continue his studies and recalled hearing about the Little Patuxent Opera Institute, a summer workshop for operatic performance and classical vocal arts offered by The Music Institute of Howard Community College (HCC). At the same time, he learned several staff members at Suitland High School had ties to HCC.
“It seemed to be a sign from God,” Kareem said. “I decided to attend HCC.”
Kareem, who studied voice performance and dance performance, received financial aid and scholarships that covered his tuition costs. This not only helped Kareem and his family, but allowed him to enroll in the music classes he had longed to take.
“I particularly enjoy my Music Theory class because it teaches you the principles of music and the fundamentals to make you a better musician,” he said.
Kareem also relished his voice lessons, which taught him how to produce “a healthy, vibrant sound.” Dance classes – both modern and ballet – educated Kareem about his body, musicality and physicality. Kareem also participated in the HCC Dance Company. In the fall, Kareem will transfer to the University of Connecticut, where he will study dance performance and opera. But first, Kareem took a trip to Urbania, Italy, as one of the college’s first two recipients of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for study abroad during the summer. Through this scholarship, Kareem traveled to the Centro Studi Italiani School of Language to study music theory, Italian diction and music history, while receiving voice lessons and performing recitals through the Si Parta, Si Canta program.
Kareem says he owes his success to HCC.“HCC is a great place to find yourself and what you want to do in life – as well as what you what to get out of life,” he said. “There is a wonderful, loving staff that will also challenge you to be the very best you can be. Why NOT come to HCC?”