A dream is about to come true for a 16-year-old junior student at Lehigh Senior High School For The Arts. Marcello Camarda has been given the opportunity, one of only two students in the state of Florida, to participate in an European musical tour where he will visit several countries.
His parents, Tony and Gabrielle Camarda have been selected as guardians, along with a few others throughout the U.S. They are paying their way, along with a younger son, 13-year-old Massimo, a student at Alva Middle School.
But Marcello needs to come up with $6,000 to pay for his trip which includes all accommodations.
He wants to go and he wants to go for what he sees as a thrill of a lifetime.
The program that will take students from other states is The Sound of America, a non-profit organization which includes for 20123, an honor band and chorus. Its headquarters is in Carlisle, Pa., where the band and chorus will be formed and will rehearse before its trip overseas.
Clyde M. Barr, the tour coordinator with The Sound of America said Marcello Camarda has qualified for membership in the highly select national performing organization known as The Sound of America Honor Band and Chorus which will perform overseas beginning in June.
Camarda had applied for the tour and auditioned for membership in the organization. Barr said each applicant has been carefully screened to that only those students who display excellent character and outstanding musical ability are chosen for membership.
Letters of recommendation from teachers and friends have gone a long way in winning the honor to take the European musical tour.
In addition to singing in the school chorus, the young Camarda can play the piano and has been hitting the ivories since he was 10 years old and his ability came naturally as he was self-taught, according to his father, Tony.
"He is naturally talented and his mother and I are very proud of him. My mother-in-law is a prodigy of sorts, an excellent singer in New York, and he has the same talent, maybe from her.
"He loves classical music and in our home, that is the type of music Marcello has come to love. He downloads the music and has a nice collection," his father said.
Marcello is also an excellent student, one of the requirements to be able to be part of the national chorus and band presentations overseas. He maintains a GPA of over 4 and enjoys school and especially the arts. He plans to go to college, which one yet though has not been decided, and student art and foreign languages. He may become a music teacher, go into a position where will be able to speak several languages, or who knows, even a pro.
The student has gone to several businesses in Lehigh to ask for money and some have contributed, people like Theresa Goodlad, an insurance executive in Lehigh at State Farm on Leland Heights Blvd.
But coming up with money is not easy for Marcello even after sending out letters to area business leaders.
In his letter, he writes that he is a junior and has maintained a GPA of 3.0 throughout his studies of the Cambridge Program which he has been a member of since ninth grade.
He told them he has maintained advanced studies in the Lehigh Senior High School Varsity Choir for which he was nominated with the honor of Most Outstanding Sophomore Leadership Award and with that has been given the opportunity to perform in the Florida "all State Vocal 2011 and currently the 2013 term
When he attended middle school, he was a member of the Lehigh Acres Middle School Choir grades sixth and eighth and participated in the All County During his eighth grade term and he was honored as the title as Most Valuable Member.
"Just recently I was selected as one of only two from the state of Florida to perform with the prestigious Sound of America Honor Band and Chorus 2013 the 37th annual European Summer Concert Tour."
A total of 12 concerts are scheduled in different venues throughout Europe including St. Mark's Cathedral and Notre Dame Cathedral.
But he must raise as much money as he can to pay for his accommodations and hopes people and businesses in Lehigh will come to his aid.
"I would be very appreciative of the help I can get," Marcello said.
Those who want to help can make out checks to The Sound of America Honor Band & Chorus and send them in Marcello's name to 958 Grant Blvd, Leigh Acres, FL. 33974.
"Any amount would be help me to meet my goal," he said.
He and other students will six
European countries. Paris, Innsbruck, Venice, Verona, and Luxembourg are but a few of the historic cities that will be visited during the tour. In addition to the many musical performances offered by the band and chorus while they travel, a special ceremony will be presented at the Luxembourg-American World War II Military Cemetery on behalf of America's fallen soldiers.
His mother, Gabrielle Camarda, is a school nurse at Lehigh Acres Middle School.
When asked how she felt about her son's talent and opportunity, she said, "Oh God yes, I am very proud of him."
His father, Tony, is a supervisor at Wal-Mart, one of the firms that is helping him with the financing of his trip.
The family has been in Lehigh for eight years. They came from Long Island, N.Y., after seeing homes advertised up north. They came and like what they saw.
"And we decided to move down. We had enough of the winters up there," his father said.
"We are a modest family and we are paying our own expenses to travel as chaperones. We are going to help our son, but raising that much money can be difficult.
Last week, the family has taken the second step to prepare for their trip. Their goal was to get their passports in Fort Myers.
"If people in Lehigh can help me with any amount of money, it would be most grateful. I would be very proud to represent Lehigh Acres and the United States with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.