Posted on September 26, 2008 by Tia Lalani

For many students, the summer is a way to rest and recuperate after a long semester of studying. This was not the case, though, for Sheldon Weber.

by Kara Blizzard

For many students, the summer is a way to rest and recuperate after a long semester of studying. This was not the case, though, for Augustana Piano Performance major Sheldon Weber. For the past few years, Sheldon has competed in the Northern Star Talent Search at Capital Ex in Edmonton. He won the third place title this year, as well as a scholarship. As the first finalist chosen during the competition’s selection process, Sheldon had the opportunity to perform on Global News.

His composition of variations on “Jesus Loves Me” has garnered much attention. “Churches keep contacting me and asking me to play for them,” says Sheldon.Of course, Sheldon has commitments in Camrose: in addition to his piano studies, he is both a section leader for the Augustana Choir and an athlete.

In fact his piano teacher, Dr. Milton Schlosser, says that Sheldon’s athletic ability is closely tied to the way that he plays the piano. His refined motor skills allow him to play complex segments of music quite easily. Dr. Schlosser describes Sheldon as an “exciting student to teach,” in part because of his incredible ability to listen to composers like Liszt and Rachmaninov and learn pieces by ear. Dr. Schlosser also describes Sheldon as a great improviser, composer, and performer.

Most impressive is the fact that Sheldon was largely self-taught before he came to Camrose.In addition to being an avid baseball player during his high school career in Athabasca, he was also dedicated to playing the piano. His studio lessons at Augustana have enabled him to learn “many more ways to improvise and to compose,” according to Dr. Schlosser.

The Northern Star Talent Search is not the only competition that Sheldon has placed well in; earlier this year, he won the title of Most Promising Performer at the Rose Bowl, Camrose’s music festival. He then went on to play at the provincials, where he received a high score.

In November, Sheldon will compete against other undergraduate, Masters, and Doctorate students for a chance to play with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. He hopes that with enough hard work he can make the finals; “to play with a symphony is one of my dreams,” says Sheldon.

Since this is Sheldon’s final year at Augustana, he will perform a concerto and a one-hour long recital during the second term. As for future musical endeavours, Sheldon is currently looking into Masters programs in piano.

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