In November, 16-year-old Colton Pometta won the Modesto Symphony Orchestra's Young Idol competition. Since then, he has been involved in several area stage productions and many people have asked him to sing at events.
But now Colton has a new challenge on the horizon: attending a summer program at one of the oldest and most prestigious performing-arts schools in the United States.
Interlochen Arts Academy is in Michigan. It offers courses in various fields, including musical theater, opera, motion picture arts, creative writing and orchestra. Alumni of the academy include Josh Groban and Norah Jones.
So, how did Colton, a Newman resident and junior at Modesto High, get into the school? He sent Interlochen his résumé, head shot and audition tape, which consisted of videos demonstrating his performing skills. The tape showed Colton singing two songs, reciting a monologue and dancing.
He was one of many students from more than 50 countries applying for a spot at Interlochen this summer. More than 400 got in. About 10, including Colton, were accepted into a special, more intensive portion of the program for musical theater.
Colton was offered scholarships that cover most of the $8,000 the school charges students to attend for the summer. He also has been accepted into the academy for his senior year of high school, and is considering it.
This summer, Colton will attend two programs: a one-week intensive musical theater program and a six-week repertory musical theatre production program.
"We will be performing 'Guys and Dolls,' " Colton said. "I'll be there for a total of seven weeks, taking eight hours of acting, singing and dancing classes six days a week. I'm so excited!"
He has reason to be. Classes are taught each year by surprise celebrities, and live concerts are performed almost every night for the students by some of the biggest, most influential stars.
Colton also will be surrounded by hundreds of staff and students who are involved with the arts. This year, Interlochen has 300 faculty and staff, and roughly 475 students.
"I'm sure I will make some lifelong friends, whom I may run into later in my career," he said. "I'm also excited about the artistic atmosphere. I will definitely meet some very talented teens."
Colton hopes that attending this academy will help him reach his ultimate goal in life -- to star on Broadway.
"I definitely plan on pursuing musical theater," he said. "After high school, I intend on attending a conservatory and majoring in musical theater."
Amelia Varni is a sophomore at Modesto's Central Catholic High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom journalism program. To comment, click on the link with this story at www.modbee.com.