A Lloydminster musician is starting his second year at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.
Connor Sturge did his first year remotely, but at the end of the month he will be settling in to school life in Boston.
Just getting into Berklee could be considered an achievement in itself.
The alumni list includes people like Quincy Jones, Melissa Etheridge, Donald Fagan, Charlie Puth, John Mayer, Diana Krall, Paula Cole, Branford Marsalis and numerous others.
Sturge was first introduced to the drums when he was two years old. He started piano lessons with Michelle Andres in Lloydminster and over a 10-year span completed his Royal Conservatory of Music Level 9.
As well he was doing drum lessons in Edmonton with Grant MacEwan graduate Justin Kowalevsky and Brian Thurgood, the head drum instructor at Grant MacEwan.
The Lloydminster Comprehensive High School graduate also had the chance to pick up trumpet.
“Starting in elementary school and up until a little bit through high school, I also played trumpet. That was cool to be in a concert band setting [and] play an instrument that I was not as familiar with. So getting to learn a new instrument was a lot of fun.”
Sturge also got to perform locally in his early teens with musicians Ross Ulmer, Murray McDonnell and their band Jazz on the Border. He says it helped him to learn things like playing music in a group setting.
He graduated from Lloydminster Comprehensive in 2020, with a scholarship in hand to Berklee, as he had auditioned in 2019. The COVID pandemic meant that he had to do classes remotely.
“There are some classes that worked really well both in person and online, but there’s other things like the ensembles that were really good and had their benefit, but you could definitely tell it was very different as you weren’t physically playing music with other people.”
Sturge says he learned to record his work and send it for classmates to mix as they built a song to submit for assignments. This challenged him to learn about music editing software.
Sturge is excited to go to Boston to play music with other musicians in person, interact with campus staff and his current drum instructor Neal Smith.
The Lloyd musician will graduate in 2024 with a Four Year Degree in Performance.