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Nassau BOCES vocalist becomes presidential finalist, to perform at Grammy Week

Maurice Johnson
Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts vocalist Maurice Johnson was named a YoungArts Talent Search Finalist and was chosen to perform during Grammy Week.   
Hempstead UFSD senior Maurice Johnson, a music student at Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts, has had an incredibly successful year. The teen vocalist was named a Finalist in the YoungArts Talent Search and has been selected to perform during Grammy Week in 2015.

Maurice will head to Miami this month for the YoungArts finals, where he will compete to become a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, for which he would receive a medal from the president and have the opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Maurice is one of only 178 students to be chosen as a finalist from more than 11,000 students nationwide.

In February, Maurice will head out to California to perform at a host of events during Grammy Week, at the invitation of the national Grammys in the Schools program. The highlight of the trip will be the opportunity for Maurice to sing at the post show for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.

An all around talent, Maurice is studying vocal jazz, classical, and is a member of the pop ensemble, but his first love is gospel. He hopes to become a gospel singer professionally and is well on his way. Maurice has been accepted to several prestigious schools including the University of the Arts, Morehouse College, Berkley College of Music and Howard University.

“I’ve been singing all my life, but didn’t start singing in front of people until I did a duet with my mom at our church,” says Maurice, who comes from a family of singers and says he was raised on music. “There’s not a family event that goes by at which we don’t sing.”

This natural songster is grateful to have had the opportunity to hone his talents at LIHSA. “I love it here,” he says. “It’s inspiring to be around people who are passionate about the same things I am. It’s great to have knowledgeable instructors who really care about what they teach.”

“I expect Maurice to become a household name one day,” says Instructor Michele Zimmerman, who has been at LIHSA for 26 years and knows talent when she sees it. “Maurice has a wonderful, natural gift, but his hard work and training has made him into something truly special. And not only is he incredibly talented, he’s a gentleman.”