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The Kennedy Center

Artists Featured in Book

Matthew Vollbrecht

Photo of Matthew Vollbrecht

"Most of the performances that I've done nationally or internationally have been through VSA arts -- it was something that I'd never experienced -- things like performing at The Kennedy Center. I knew right away that the level was a little different for me."

Matthew Vollbrecht's performances as a VSA arts Young Soloist led him to become youth ambassador to UNICEF. He has maturity and professionalism far in excess of what one would expect of a 14-year-old boy. Matthew takes voice lessons at the prestigious Peabody School of Music in Baltimore, MD, and aspires to a career in music. As alternatives, he also thinks about becoming an interpreter or educator like his father.

Matthew's enjoyment of a cassette recorder underscored his interest in music. His grandfather told him what notes to play on the family organ. Together they'd pretend to give concerts. He would repeat everything he heard right away. Eventually, they realized he really loved music and had a gift.

Growing up, Matthew endured 22 operations. Now, finally without constant pain, Matthew is still blind. His mother says singing has made him feel better about himself and is sure it played a large part in his being well-adjusted.

Matthew says "Singing has changed the way I perceive the world... because of the opportunities it's given me... And because I have been educated on different situations around the world, to be in touch with other people's feelings. I think the arts can help in many ways...The arts really help people feel good about themselves. Rather than learn their limits, they can see what they're really able to do."