Miles Fowler started playing the viola when he was in fifth grade. Now on the verge of graduating from high school, Miles plays the piano, sings and composes music.
Miles has had the opportunity to develop his love and talent for music at Reid Ross Classical School, which is a school of choice in Cumberland County Schools for grades six through 12. With a focus on the arts and academics, the school provides students with a well-rounded education experience using the most current technology resources.
In the fall, Miles will head to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he has earned three scholarships: the Spartan Scholarship, Chancellor's Scholarship and a School of Music Scholarship.
Miles is thankful for the teachers in his life who helped him develop into the musician he is today. Janice Swoope, orchestra director at Reid Ross, was one of the first to recognize his talent.
“I first realized my talent for music shortly after my very first audition in seventh grade,” Miles says. “I found out that out of 10 violists that got in, I had the second-highest score. It was then that I decided that I would try my hardest to become the best violist I could be. Ms. Swoope was the one who encouraged me to not only audition for youth orchestras but also pursue private lessons. Without a doubt, she has helped me discover my talent and encouraged me to pursue a career in music.”
In addition to being a member of the Honors Orchestra, Miles is a member of the Greensboro Youth Symphony and Cumberland County Youth Orchestra. He has also been a member of the Fayetteville Youth Symphony, N.C. Governor’s School, North Carolina Eastern All-State Orchestra and Cumberland County All-County Orchestra.
A talented speaker, Miles has received regional and state recognition as a member of the school speech and debate team. Earlier this month, the Honors Orchestra performed his original composition, 22.
“The one attribute that makes Miles unique: Humble,” says Ms. Swoope. “Miles is a very, very talented and gifted violist and has received many musical and academic accolades. Miles does not seek praise from others. He is always finding ways to challenge himself and strives to learn and do his personal best. His motivation and outstanding work ethics are beyond his years. He is by far the most talented musician I have had in my 45-year tenure as a music educator.”
After college, Miles plans to go to graduate school while also looking for work as both a performer and a composer. By that time, he hopes to establish himself in the musical world and further explore his artistic creativity.
Ultimately, Miles hopes to make strides in ensuring classical music is more accessible to all.
“The main reason why people don’t want to pick up and learn an instrument is because of all of the different expenses that come with it,” Miles says. “The average cost of a beginner violin is $600. Most parents and even adults don’t want to invest that much money just to learn a musical instrument. Picking up and learning an instrument should not be a financial burden to anyone, and I plan to support organizations that aim to make the financial barrier of classical music nonexistent.”
For now, Miles is thankful for his time at Reid ROss and looking forward to the future.
“Ten years from now, I will primarily remember my high school experience by the overall development of myself as a whole,” Miles says. “From the shy and quiet person I was in my freshman year to the still kind of quiet yet experimental person I am now.”
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories about the Standout Seniors of 2022 as selected by Cumberland County Schools.