Being legally blind hasn't hindered Levi Williams from following his dreams.
Apart from driving a car, it doesn't stop Levi from doing anything. And that includes becoming a professional singer and eventually a music producer.
Levi was born with ocular albinism. He embraces his impairment.
"I want to make a difference in the world. I want to be an inspiration to people because I don't let it get me down. It doesn't stop me from doing what ever I want to do.It's part of who I am," he says. Right now, Levi wants to sing.
Levi, 16, and Charlie Childs, 14, from Otumoetai College, have won 2018 scholarships with leading baroque chamber choir Scholars Pro Musica.
The scholarship, introduced by musical director Chalium Poppy, is to give young people an experience singing in a semi professional setting with a chamber choir.They hope to kindle a passion for choral music in youth.
"The scholarship scheme is all about providing talented young singers with the nurturing, leadership and skills they will require to become great singers and valued members of any choral ensemble they may wish to join later in life. The skills they learn are very much skills for life," Chalium says.
Charlie and Levi were recommended by Otumoetai College's head of music Matt Bodman. They join third year choral scholar Alfred Shum, 17, from Tauranga Boys' College.
Levi's mother is drama teacher Petrina Chisholm. He has been involved in two Tauranga Musical Theatre (TMT) productions and played lead Corny Collins in the school production of Hairspray.
His vocal range is bass but he's versatile, Matt says. "He can also do jazz, musical theatre and contemporary pop." "He can also do soprano," Charlie quips.
Charlie is a baritone singer. His family have always been involved in choirs as well as amateur theatre. Charlie has sung in choirs since primary school and is part of TMT's youth group.
Matt says it's brilliant the two have been selected, and points out the baroque singing era can be a struggle to master.
"It's different," Charlie says. "It was hard at first but once you learn the vowels and how to pronounce the words, it gets easier."
Chalium handpicked the students for scholarship. He has work shopped with Levi and Charlie before in their preparation for The Big Sing schools event.
"They both stuck out in the school choir, their work ethic in rehearsal really caught my eye, they wanted to please and I could see that determination. It was really quite something.
"They have beautiful voices and they have raw talent so it's just going to get better through time spent with the rest of the scholars."
St Mary Immaculate, Elizabeth St Saturday, December 2 at 7.30pm
Tickets 0800 842 538
The Scholars Pro Musica chamber choir present their third annual performance of Handel's oratorio Messiah. The Scholars are joined by professional baroque orchestra NZ Barok.