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Grad Hits High Note

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Grad Hits High Note

Daniel Lewis performing during a concert at Cedarville University. Photo credit Scott L. Huck/Cedarville University

by Sharyn Kopf—Cedarville, Ohio

May 14, 2009

As music performance major Daniel Lewis prepared to graduate from Cedarville University on May 2, he had a truly envious dilemma ahead of him: which of the three grad school scholarships offered him would he accept? Each had its advantages. Michigan State University offered full tuition and an assistantship, and the University of Michigan supplied a graduate fellowship, which amounts to full tuition.

The third option came from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and was the smallest offer — about $4,000 short of his tuition needs for each year, including scholarships and work-study programs.

“This was a tough decision for me to make,” says Lewis, who grew up in Cedarville, Ohio. “I had three really good offers.”

In the end, he chose CIM — not for the money, but for the school’s reputation and the caliber of its program. As a respected international conservatory, CIM produces some of the top musicians in the country. It also boasts connections that the other grad schools, though still strong, do not. Another bonus: the Cleveland Orchestra, which ranks among the top 10 in the world, is right down the street and employs most of the CIM faculty.

“One of the trumpet instructors, Michael Sachs — and the one I hope to study under — is the principle trumpet in the orchestra,” Lewis says. “This was a big factor in my decision-making.”

Finally, Lewis felt drawn to the intense level of competition inherent to a select school like CIM. Taking all these factors into consideration made the Institute the obvious choice for him.

Finding the Right Key
With his undergraduate work behind him, Lewis can already see the ways his Cedarville education has prepared him for the challenging and competitive environment of grad school. Musically, the University gave him a solid foundation to build upon and an overall better understanding of music, from theory to aural training to 2,000 years of history. And Cedarville trained him spiritually.

“I look back at my last four years and can see how much I have changed since high school,” he says. “This spiritual growth has prepared me to enter an environment at CIM that will be very challenging — musically and emotionally. My experience at Cedarville has taught me how to trust in Christ through all struggles and trials.”

Of course, it’s the relationships he developed at the University that Lewis will take with him. Not only did his professors provide important connections for the real world, but they also showed him through their work how he should live out his faith.

After grad school, Lewis hopes to get a Doctor of Musical Arts degree so he can teach at a collegiate level and pursue a career in music. But whether he ends up performing in a major symphony orchestra or teaching at a university, his main goal is to follow the Lord’s leading.

Lewis plans to spend his summer touring with Tim Zimmerman and The King’s Brass. To find out if they’ll be performing near you, visit