Chris Humbert got his first keyboard at the age of 3, a small Casio-brand, and from there, he didn’t look back. He started taking lessons at 5. “I also joined my church’s youth choir and caught on so fast to all of the songs,” says Humbert, who leveraged his musical past in Akron to major in Opera and Musical Theatre at Capital University in Columbus.
While his musical interest piqued at an exceptionally young age, Humbert credits Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts for jumpstarting a potentially successful career in music and theatre. “I would say that being at an art school was a great experience, and I don’t think I would have built a love and passion for music as much as I did without being fully immersed as I was,” he says.
Humbert is among a host of young creatives who have launched successful careers in the arts, thanks in part to the guidance provided by Miller South, part of Akron Public Schools. It’s landed him some significant roles, like the narrator in Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” and Curtis in the musical “Sister Act.”
“There were many opportunities to join musicals, show choir, drama clubs and even outside endeavors that strengthen one as a performer,” he adds. “I even know classmates who have been in commercials, and/or multiple shows just during their time at Miller. This starting place can lead to students having the ability and drive to use their talents through high school, and even pursue it in college.
“I had always been the one to watch and enjoy musicals, plays and dance concerts, but never had the courage to get on a stage and act,” says Humbert. “Having that experience made me pursue being in shows in high school, and really flourishing as a performer. I have been in many shows so far, and even started to teach voice and piano lessons to younger students this year. Who knew that taking one brave step would set me up for something I want to do as a career.”
For those who may be on the fence when it comes to answering their creative yearnings, he offers this: “My advice would be to follow your heart and never feel like you have to narrow your choices too much. Do everything and anything you desire and keep an open mind.”
And for non-artists: “Go to an art gallery, go to a ballet, go to an opera, go to a neighboring school district to watch a choir or band concert and support, support, support your local arts programs!”