Home Performing arts The Spark Scholarship gives a John Glenn graduate the opportunity to shine

The Spark Scholarship gives a John Glenn graduate the opportunity to shine


Winning a performing arts scholarship in high school helped Kaden Furtaw gain confidence for the college application process.

A year after receiving $1,000 through the Spark arts mentorship program, Furtaw is set to attend Saginaw Valley State University while working part-time as a music class teaching assistant at Bay City Academy. .

Furtaw says the scholarship was key to his confidence when applying to colleges. He encourages others to take advantage of the opportunity.

While Korie Lee Blossey sang, Ryan VanDenBoom tap danced during the Downtown Shuffle Around on September 12.The Spark Fellowship, which kicked off in 2020, is hosting its third annual tap dance fundraiser on Saturday, August 27. Ryan VanDenBoom, one of the scholarship program’s founders, a graduate of Bay City Central High School and a Broadway performer, leads the classes. Registrations are requested.

Fundraising is for the one-time scholarship that provides performing arts training to Black, Indigenous, and students of color in the Great Lakes Bay Area.

Furtaw, who was one of two 2021-22 winners, chose monologue, dance and vocal training. The other 2021-22 recipient was Alexus Yorch.

“It was an amazing process. Really fun. I learned a ton of things from it,” says Furtaw.

Kaden Furtaw recently played Troy Bolton in a performance of “High School Musical” at the Midland Center for the Arts (Photo courtesy of Midland Center for the Arts)During monologue training, he learned how to present himself effectively, pick up tips on etiquette, and grab the audience’s attention. The lessons also emphasized the importance of not rushing and maintaining eye contact.

As a veteran of local shows, Furtaw knew his dancing skills needed help. He then chose to study dance.

“I wasn’t a dancer,” Furtaw said. “I didn’t know anything about dancing. I didn’t know any of the terms. I struggled a lot with that.

During auditions, when asked to perform a specific move, Furtaw would stop to see what others were doing and then imitate their moves. This is no longer a problem.

“After going through the dance training, I can definitely say that I feel comfortable auditioning and knowing the terms people tell me to do,” Furtaw says. “It was just such a good learning experience for that.”

Image courtesy of Spark Art Mentorship Program Finally, he took voice lessons with Dr. Matt Travis, a Bay City native and Senior Director of Art Planning at the Midland Center for the Arts. Travis led the classes, but also helped Furtaw with the shows he appeared on last year and with college auditions.

Help paid off. Later this month, Furtaw will begin studying education and acting at SVSU. He will also work as a teaching assistant and assistant director for the Bay City Academy shows. He is also Assistant Stage Manager for “Rent”, which has its last performances this weekend. Tickets are available online.

Furtaw is confident that he will be involved in theater for the rest of his life.

I don’t care what I do, where I am or how long it takes. Right at the end of the day, if I’m around or at the theater somehow, that would make me happy.

Her experience has been so positive that when her sister, Jecara Williams, asked her if she should apply for the 2022-23 program, he was happy to encourage her.

On Saturday, August 27, VanDenBoom will present classic steps in a way that dancers of all skill levels can relate to. (Photo credit: Ben Tierney)“I said, ‘Jecara, it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve learned so much, created so many great relationships, and they’re great people too. I’ve say yes, Jecara, go ahead.”

Jecara, who begins eighth grade this fall at Bay City Academy, is one of four recipients of the 2022-23 scholarship. The other recipients are: Deacon Hayward, Myah Shelton and Zoe Whitlock.