Todd Schroeder’s YOUNG ARTISTS’ GRANT Benefit Concert Returns to Sonora High School

This year’s grads have had anything but a normal high school experience, and the past two years have taught them resilience, flexibility, and grace. Without a doubt, they deserve a bit of celebration for their tenacity and courage. Luckily for students at Sonora High School, Todd Schroeder is back after a five-year hiatus to raise money for the Todd Schroeder Young Artists Scholarship to benefit young graduates going into the arts. Todd himself graduated from Sonora High School and went on to a successful career as a pianist, composer and musical director. Since 1995, Todd has been giving back to the community with this grant. This year, an impressive list of celebrities, such as Jason Alexander of Seinfeld Fame. Broadway World spoke to Todd about its organization and what we can expect at this year’s benefit concert which will take place in Sonora on April 30.

Todd, you started this program in 1995. What was the impetus?

My mother was a social worker when I was a child and was the director of financial aid at Columbia College in Tuolumne County, where Sonora is located. So all my life I’ve learned the importance of helping others achieve their dreams. One night in 1994, I was leading the music for a concert in Sacramento and my leadership teacher from Sonora High School came to the concert. After the show, Steve Southard asked me to come back to school and share my success with the students. I agreed and suggested a benefit concert to raise money for a scholarship to help other high school kids achieve their dreams in the performing arts like me. And the Todd Schroeder Young Artist Grant benefit concert was born.

You have some big names performing this year, like Jason Alexander from Seinfeld. What can we expect from him?

As many people know, before Seinfeld, Jason won a Tony Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical. He’s such a great singer and performer and, of course, he’s so funny! All that he will bring to the concert on April 30. I’m so lucky to have these amazing celebrities lend their time and talent to raise money for this grant. This year’s performers include Jordan Hill, Carrie Schroeder, Robyn Spangler, Kevin Fisher, Wendy Tuttle and Sam Harris. Some of the artists from the previous year included Rita Coolidge, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Mark Espinoza, Valeria Andrews and David Burnham to name a few.

Do you have a favorite scholarship story?

Although each recipient’s story is unique, I remember one of the past recipients sending me a letter after receiving the award. There he thanked me for the money, then he wrote something that I will never forget. “Thank you so much. Of course I’m grateful for the money (which isn’t) but more importantly, this is the first time I’ve been recognized for doing what I love. With your encouragement, I I feel like I can be successful in chasing my dreams. I hope to win many awards in my life, but I’ll never forget that’s where it all started. He’s since become a Senior Creative for ESPN and the NFL.

When you’re not busy raising money for kids, you’re a Broadway World Award-winning composer, vocal coach, and music director. What project do you currently have in progress?

I direct music for some amazing artists, including Jason Alexander and Sam Harris, as well as a show I created called “Celebrating Tom Jones”. I am also very involved in the casting and musical direction of many Universal Studios theme parks around the world. I also stay busy teaching my master class, “Auditing for Today’s Musical Theater,” at universities and performing arts schools across the country.

What are the criteria for a student to be eligible for a Young Artist Scholarship?

When I graduated from Sonora High School, I received a few scholarships, but there were a lot of restrictions on how I had to use the money. When I created the Young Artist Grant, I wanted there to be no restrictions. Whether it’s a one-way trip to Europe or a lot of guitar strings depends on the graduate. I ask teachers to help decide who should receive the grant. Teachers are those who recognize the talent and needs of their students. I am so grateful for everyone’s involvement in the success of this project.

The Todd Schroeder Young Artists’ Grant Benefit Concert will be held April 30, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. at Sonora High School Auditorium at 430 N. Washington St., Sonora, CA, 95370.

Tickets are available at the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/298799817297

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