These days, Cheyenne Boyce is mulling many melodies.
The 17-year-old Cass Technical High School senior has been listening to classical recordings and constantly practicing her cello for an opportunity many musicians dream of: performing at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
This month, Boyce is set to join about 50 others from the Suzuki Royal Oak Institute of Music for a Manhattan Concert Productions series. But she won’t have any printed sheet music in front of her. When the Detroiter is onstage, she’ll play each piece from memory, as is standard. “It’s been difficult memorizing everything,” Boyce said. “It’s definitely challenging, but I’m working really hard at it. … I’m so excited.”
That drive is part of what led the teen to best some 500 applicants nationwide for the Tom Joyner Foundation “Full Ride Scholarship.” The award covers full tuition, room and board and books for up to 10 semesters at the historically black college she chooses to attend.
The group, founded by nationally broadcast radio show host Tom Joyner, has raised more than $55 million to help students attend black colleges.
Its third scholarship winner, Boyce has a 4.0 grade point average and ranks first in her graduating class. She’s been accepted at Howard University and Spelman College, but still is deciding which to attend.
“Cheyenne is an outstanding student who has worked hard to become the No. 1 student at one of Detroit’s most competitive schools,” said Joyner, who interviewed her on his show Monday.
Besides playing with Suzuki, she also is in Cass Tech’s symphony orchestra; studies Japanese and is in several advancement placement courses; volunteers at a recycling center; is vice president of her school’s National Honor Society; and sings in the choir at Grace Episcopal Church in Detroit.
She also takes dance classes at Marygrove College and spent two years with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Youth Ensembles.
“She’s an extremely hard worker,” said her mother,