Local student Juilliard bound after finding his voice

Mary Persons High School graduate Jackson Harvey will study voice at Juilliard School this fall.
Mary Persons High School graduate Jackson Harvey will study voice at Juilliard School this fall.

Jackson Harvey didn’t know he was a good singer, but his chorus director heard the potential. Two years later, the Mary Persons High School senior is set to study vocal performance at Juilliard School in the fall.

Harvey, of Forsyth, has been involved in school chorus since sixth grade, but he wasn’t that serious about his voice at first. In 10th grade, he started to really enjoy singing and developed a love for it, he said.

“I recognized that he had something a little bit more magical about his voice that was not as common, and I recognized that with training he could really go far,” chorus director Charles Hernandez said. “He has a lot of ambition, and he’s a joy to teach. He’s very open to trying new things and exploring the capabilities of his voice,”

Area educators offer congratulations and advice to this year's graduating high school seniors.

Hernandez connected Harvey with Mercer University professor Marie Roberts for lessons. He started doing musical theater at his school as a junior, earning lead roles in “Children of Eden,” “The Secret Garden,” “Blood Brothers” and “Shrek the Musical,” Harvey said. He also became a member of the thespian and music honor societies.

Harvey applied for Juilliard after encouragement from Roberts, but he never thought he would be accepted. He ended up being one of just a few selected for the voice program, and he has received scholarships to cover a portion of his tuition. When he visited Juilliard, he fell in love with its atmosphere and energy, he said.

“I never thought that I would make it. I never thought I was that good,” said Harvey, son of Scott and Shannon Gordon. “(Hernandez) saw a talent, he saw a love for it. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today.”

Harvey hopes to be an opera singer one day, and his ultimate goal is to perform at the Metropolitan in New York City. His passion is for classical singing, but he would be equally amazing at musical theater and has the natural acting ability to be on Broadway one day, Hernandez said.

Andrea Honaker: 478-744-4382, @TelegraphAndrea