Student invited to international mentorship program

June 4, 2014

davidbenedictsmA Bryan music student has been named one of 16 students to participate in the Acoustic Music Seminar Mentorship Program, to be held in conjunction with the Savannah (Ga.) Music Festival in April.

David Benedict Music department Chair Dr. Mel Wilhoit said senior David Benedict will have “an amazing opportunity to work alongside and be mentored by the best professional acoustic musicians in the business.” See David perform here.

David, a senior from Clemson, S.C., is a mandolin player who is pursuing a degree in instrumental performance at Bryan. “David is an outstanding young musician who has worked very hard to master his craft on a non-traditional instrument,” Dr. Wilhoit said. “He also has been very proactive in seeking opportunities such as the mentorship program to enlarge his skills, experience and contacts.”

The Acoustic Music Seminar features master classes, workshops, and jam sessions for the participants and world-class musicians. In addition, “We have to write a piece, then lead a group to perform it,” David said. “I expect a phenomenal experience all around. To be with musicians who have been my heroes forever and who inspired me to take up the mandolin is incredible.”

One of those heroes is Mike Marshall, “a living legend of the mandolin,” according to David. “I’ve been in conversation with him through the website Academy of Bluegrass and met him in summer camps. He suggested I apply.”

The application process included providing biographical information, a description of the instrument and type of music he likes, and writing an essay about what he expected to gain from the program. He also had to send two recordings of him performing, so he chose pieces from his junior recital a year ago.

Students from nine states as well as New Zealand and Scotland will gather in Savannah to study instruments including mandolin, double bass, banjo, violin, dobro, cello, guitar, and lever harp.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to make connections, to continue to learn from the greats, and to play with fantastic young musicians will be a glorious experience,” he said.