Featured Youth

Would you like your young genius to be featured?  Send us the information and we’ll post it here.  We will not divulge the identity of young members without the express consent of their parents.  We have parental permission to share the following:

Nicholas: Mensa Member

Young Mensan to perform throughout Europe with The Sound of America
Nicholas Turo-Shields, sophomore at Perry Meridian High School (PMHS), is both a Young Mensan (top 2% IQ) & Davidson Young Scholars (top 1%) . . . and soon to be a music ambassador for the United States this summer.
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Like so many gifted kids, Nicholas is a incredibly gifted kid all around.  As a very young child, he fell in love with airplanes, which fed his STEM-brain (science, technology, engineering & math) quite well.  As a toddler, he wanted to fly planes and build them as well.  His second love came in elementary school when he began playing the saxophone (although officially, his first instrument was the recorder in early elementary school and then later, playing handbells at church).  His band director was concerned that he would become bored with the sax because it is rather easy to learn and play. Dr. Dawson’s prediction was accurate.  Nicholas announced that he wanted to switch instruments in 6th grade band . . . he considered the clarinet or oboe. His band director at the time, Mr. Slightom, actually recommended the bassoon — Nicholas had no idea what a bassoon even was.  When asked why bassoon was recommended, Mr. Slightom stated that it was “complicated and complex,” and predicted that Nicholas would do quite well with it. That prediction was also correct.  Nicholas fell in love with the bassoon.
Nicholas’ love of music runs deep. Not only is he an accomplished student musician, but also a strong academic student. He is an AP and Honors student, and currently maintains a GPA of 4.2. At this time, he aspires to attend Purdue to study Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering as well as participate in the renowned Purdue marching band as well.
Since music is math, his intellectual giftedness has yielded nicely to his musical abilities.  He has now played bassoon for 4 1/2 years (since October 2008), at which point he started lessons w/Mark Ortwein, bassoonist for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  Nicholas’ musical talents continue to expand.  In 9th grade, he began playing vibraphone in marching band & winter drumline (WDL), and this year, was pleased to earn a spot on marimba. Since 7th grade, Nicholas has performed bassoon solos in the ISSMA contests held locally . . . both in 8th & 9th grades, he earned gold ratings at District & State ISSMA for his solo bassoon performances. This year, he challenged himself to perform a Group I ISSMA marimba solo — because of his gold rating at district, he qualified to perform his marimba solo at the State ISSMA contest, also earning a gold rating! Quite an accomplishment to earn two gold ratings on two different instruments.


His musical achievements have continued.  As a freshman, he was selected for Indiana Bandmasters Association (IBA) All-State Band, which performs annually at Purdue every March. Mr. Ken Belt, PMHS Band Director, stated that in his 8 years at the school, Nicholas was only the second student to be chosen for All-State Band as a freshman. Nicholas was named to All-State this year again.  Due to his participation in All-State, he received an invitation to apply for THE SOUND OF AMERICA (SOA), which is a national honor band that has been performing for over 35 yrs.  Details can be found on their website at: http://www.soundofamerica.org/  He was admitted as one of the few privileged musicians selected from all across the United States to perform with the prestigious SOUND OF AMERICA Honor Band and Chorus 2013 European Concert Band Tour.
Nicholas’ efforts & discipline that have resulted in all of his musical accomplishments.  Having the opportunity to be part of this international experience is thrilling for him, especially since he will be celebrating his 16th birthday in a concert hall in Paris!  Approximately 200 students (80 musicians and 120 vocalists) will meet on the campus of Elizabethtown College in PA on June 29, 2013.  After 4 days of intensive rehearsal and orientation, the group will perform two Bon Voyage concerts on July 3, 2013 and then depart to New York and on to Frankfurt, Germany on July 4, 2013.  The group will perform eleven concerts in 6 different countries: Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland, and Luxembourg during the 18-day tour of Europe this summer.
Nicholas sums it up best,

“This is an experience that will allow me to perform in some of the most esteemed concert halls and major cathedrals of Europe. When I began playing my bassoon over 4 years ago, I would have never expected that I would have such a unique opportunity to perform abroad with such an extraordinary ensemble.  I have the chance to proudly and honorably represent not only Indianapolis and the State of Indiana, but also the United States on this stellar concert tour.” 

Nicholas eagerly invites you to follow his progress leading up to, and continuing through his travels by reading his blog at: www.makingmusicabroad.blogspot.com

You can also read his feature article in the Southside Times at http://www.ss-times.com/2013/03/06/music-abroad/


Jacob: Mensa Member