The entryway of Cameron Wilson’s home is adorned with plaques and awards from seven years of band and orchestra competitions and accomplishments.
Later this month, Wilson will leave his hometown of Augusta to attend the University of Michigan on two music scholarships totaling $27,138 for his freshman year.
Wilson’s band director at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School was not surprised by the 18-year-old’s accomplishment. From the time Wilson entered the band program at Davidson in sixth grade, Everett Cannady said the young percussionist was an eager student— never afraid to ask questions and always arriving early and staying late to practice.
“His work ethic and drive and commitment to getting it right is exceptionally high,” Cannady said.
Wilson credits Cannady for his success, especially after the teacher provided him with a vibraphone to practice on at home, an opportunity many percussionists do not have. Wilson fell in love with the “pure sound” of the instrument and began spending a lot of his free time playing it.
“He has sacrificed a lot for all of his students,” Wilson said.
Wilson was also accepted into the Manhattan School of Music, a highly-competitive program according to Cannady. However, Wilson wanted something more varied than Manhattan’s program, which is partly why he decided to become a Michigan Wolverine. After working with Michigan professor Joseph Gramley at the Juilliard Summer Percussion Seminar, an intensive program for high-school students that is held annually at Lincoln Center in New York City, Wilson wanted to continue working with him and professors like him in St. Ann Arbor.
“I just really connected with him as a teacher — just a very humble guy and really varied across all of his musical styles,” Wilson said.
In addition to awards and opportunities to play at Juilliard, Wilson was also selected for the Young Arts Camp, an all-arts organization that selects 106 students from across the country. Wilson was the only percussionist chosen to join a group of 20 classical musicians between the ages of 15 and 18.
Wilson has also performed with the Greater Augusta Youth Theatre and performed in Christmas services for Sacred Heart and St. John UMC.
He can’t say which opportunities he will take advantage of at Michigan but hopes to be involved with orchestra, ensembles and jazz. He said he will learn to write music in composition class this fall.