Vanessa Croome has always liked being on stage, so a career in performing arts fit naturally.
“Ever since I was little, I liked performing and putting on shows for people,” she said. “It just seems to be what’s working for me.”
The 16-year-old Nanaimo student is off to Michigan next week to enrol full-time at Interlochen Centre for the Arts, where her academic career will be matched with artistic studies. In addition to a grant from the B.C. Arts Council, Croome received a scholarship from Interlochen to help cover tuition costs.
With academics in the morning and arts in the afternoon, teachers ensure that one doesn’t overlap with the other – Croome won’t face a math test the morning after a major performance.
It’s a schedule she informally kept for years, while attending high school and performing with Nanaimo Theatre Group, Bard to Broadway and Chemainus Theatre Festival over the years.
She is currently performing as a musician in Fiddler on the Roof in Chemainus.
Croome’s music career began early, singing It’s a Small World at the Upper Island Musical Festival in 1999 at age three.
She performed with Nanaimo Youth Choir in addition to solo work. She represented Nanaimo at the B.C. Performing Arts Festival in 2009, winning the junior classical soloist category.
Classical voice will be her major focus of study at Interlochen, with optional classes in dance and acting.
“Now I’m starting to narrow in on classical,” Croome said.
After high school – she starts Grade 11 at Interlochen – Croome plans to attend university and earn a bachelor’s degree. Ultimately, she hopes for a career as a performer.
The academy attracts more than 500 young artists from across the world. Croome said she found the academy online while searching for a summer study program last year.
The school invited her to be a full-time student last year, but she decided she wasn’t quite ready to leave home. Now she’s excited for what she’s about to learn from not only her teachers but also her fellow students.
“Each day is jam packed with opportunities,” Croome said. “Everyone is really inspiring.”