“Take 5” is an interview series that will highlight AHS Alumni who have a special story to tell or have a career, talent, or major achievement that may be of interest to other alumni and students.
Today, we Take 5 with Steven Olick IV. Steven is a 2010 graduate of Albion HS and is currently a 5th year undergraduate student at SUNY Fredonia, studying Vocal Performance. Steven holds a black belt in Kyokushin Karate, however since entering college, his interests tend to be mostly music related. He loves writing his own music on guitar and piano and will take any chance he gets to play drums with his musician friends at school. After graduating, Steven hopes to obtain both Masters and Doctoral degrees. According to Steven, “For the time being, I need to find a smaller niche to study in future schooling in the area of voice, which is something I will discover in time. My overall goal is to have my own voice studio, someday.”
On Sunday, June 22nd at 2:00 pm at the historic First Presbyterian Church in Albion, Steven will perform a concert entitled An Afternoon of Song, which will include selections from art song and opera from composers such as Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Ives, Schumann and Smetana. Partnering with the Albion High School Alumni Foundation, all proceeds from the concert will fund a study abroad to the Italian Scuola at Sant’Angelo, where Steven will participate in an once-in-a-lifetime experience studying opera in Vado, Italy. During this intensive month-long program, Steven will receive 45 hours of language training by teachers from the Italian Scuola, two voice lessons a week, two private coaching sessions, two acting lessons a week and two master classes. The program will culminate with Steven performing four concerts. He will study with college professors from around the US as well as baritone from the Met, David Malis. To read more about Steven’s concert and his upcoming study abroad, click here.
1. How did applying to Lingua e Canto come about and what was it like when you found out you were accepted?
This program was suggested to me by a voice professor in Fredonia who knew that I really wanted to travel. I did some research and also talked with two fellow Fredonians who planned on auditioned. We decided to go for it! As I said, I am attending this program with two of my fellow colleagues at Fredonia. I auditioned a tad later for the program than they did, and after hearing that they were both accepted, the nerves and pressure really set in. When I found out about a week after they did that I too had been accepted, I was ecstatic and very much relieved.
2. What can we expect to hear/see during your June 22nd concert?
This program will consist of music I have picked out over the past year that has all come to really mean something to me for one reason or another. Some of the music has really helped advance me vocally, some of it I have connected with deeply in an emotional manner, and some of it I just plain old love. The concert will be a good insight into my life as a musician.
3. Tell us about your connection to music while in Albion and how it had an impact on you.
I credit all of my motivation to become a musician to Mike Thaine and Gary Simboli. Those men run an amazing music program for the kids at Albion High School, which is something very necessary for the future of music in public schooling. They both provided an amazing support system for me, and were right behind me in every endeavor I proposed. It is only because of the support that they offered me that I am anywhere close to where I am as a musician today.
4. You received the very first Albion High School Alumni Foundation Performing Arts Scholarship ($1,000) in 2010. How did that scholarship help you?
This scholarship helped me very much so, to kick start my college career. I started as a freshman at UB, where I met many great professors, a few of which I still work with today. I am not very financially inclined, so this scholarship really helped me start college the right way, with all of the proper supplies, and left me to focus on what was important, which was finding out who I really wanted to be in the future. Thanks to the support from the Albion High School Alumni Foundation, I was easily able to take steps down the right path to becoming a better musician and, hopefully, a better teacher.
5. What advice would you give new Albion High School grads regarding their future endeavors? Any last thoughts/words of wisdom for us?
My advice is to not expect you will know everything about yourself in your first semester of college. I have learned so much from every experience in school and only recently figured out that I want to have my own voice studio and perform opera. Start with a broader area of interest, work hard in that area, and let time help you find your niche in that area. We all have special skills, it is just a matter of letting them be exposed.
I have no great words of wisdom, but I would like it to be known that I am eternally grateful for everything this community and the Alumni Foundation have done for me. This concert and trip to study abroad would not be happening if I was not so willingly supported by my hometown. I am humbled very much so by this and hope to make you all proud in the future.
Posted by Kim Wright Pritt