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Overcoming obstacles normal to music grad

Chelsey Geeting, graduating seniorTo say Chelsey Geeting is amazing would be an enormous understatement. She has four part-time jobs and a full class schedule at Stetson. She’s preparing to graduate with a bachelor of music, with outside field—education, thanks to scholarships she earned through her talent and desire to work extremely hard. Recently, she auditioned for and accepted an invitation (with full tuition and assistantship) to earn her master’s degree in opera performance at Louisiana State University. Perhaps the most astonishing part is that she’s been able to do all of this with a learning disorder.

Geeting’s struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) was diagnosed when she was very young, barely in kindergarten. She was prescribed medication to cope with the challenges. Thankfully, her mom, Patti, embraced her daughter’s love for music from the very beginning and was very supportive when her daughter played in her elementary school’s band. She continued her music training throughout her middle and high school years, taking clarinet and percussion lessons. Patti could see having a creative outlet helped her daughter tremendously.

Geeting took her talent for percussion and enrolled at a state college in Florida, but two things occurred that led her to Stetson. When her percussion professor was struck with cancer, the director asked if she’d ever tried singing.  It was at that surreal moment she found her voice…literally. After learning about Stetson’s generous scholarship program for transfer students, she auditioned for and was awarded the Duckwitz Talent Scholarship to attend SU.

“What Stetson offered me was life-changing,” she explained. “I want to be a walking billboard for this school because it was here that I became the person I am supposed to be.”

Specifically, she credits people in Health Services, the Academic Resource Center, the Career Development Center, as well as the School of Music, for helping her to function unhindered by her learning disorder. “These departments have worked together so that for the first time in my life I feel ready for the next step as a whole, independent person.”

As a junior Geeting captured the coveted Harold Giffin Vocal Scholarship, and this year her dedication summited with a breath-taking performance. “Chelsey’s senior recital was exquisite,” noted Patrece Robinson, adjunct professor of music/career skills. “It truly was a culmination of all that she garnered from Stetson: beautiful artistry, professionalism, wonderful stage presence, interaction with her audience and humility backstage after the performance.”

“I am very proud of her continued drive to succeed despite obstacles that would totally defeat most students,” said fellow mezzo-soprano and Voice Professor Jane Christeson. “And I’m very happy that her perseverance has been rewarded.”

Geeting’s award to attend LSU this fall is significant, and the first of its kind to award doctorate-level support to earn a master’s degree. Yes, she is that good. See performance clips and contact her through her website: chelseycgeeting.weebly.com.

by Trish Wieland