By Joseph Knoop
Another year, another Great American Songbook competition, only this year’s winner struck a chord closer to home than the rest. Lebanon resident Lucas Debard, 18, earned the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador Award this July.
“It didn’t feel like a competition, it felt almost like a music camp,” Debard said. “It was a great learning experience and they didn’t give a competition appearance to it. It was all about learning and that was my favorite aspect.”
Forty top-performing music students throughout the country are invited to the Songbook Foundation headquarters at the Center for Performing Arts in Carmel for a week-long series of workshops. The week culminated in a showcase on July 25 featuring the 40 students.
Debard sang a pair of songs he says were special to him and his family, titled “I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” and “I’ll See You in My Dreams.”
“My great-grandparents had a dance band in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s and that was their way to make money,” Debard said. “[My grandma] would go to their gigs and sometimes she’d fall asleep when she was little, and ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’ was always the last song they played. Everyone always loved that song and she said that’s something she’ll always remember.”
For his accomplishment, Debard will get to perform with Emmy and Grammy Award-nominated and Great American Songbook Foundation founder Michael Feinstein. Debard will also perform at the Songbook Hall of Fame gala and sing the national anthem at an upcoming Indianapolis Colts game.
Debard will attend Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music this fall to study music education. Despite the high level of focus Debard must commit to his studies, a performing career remains his true goal.
“It’s something I wish I had at that age,” Debard said. “I can’t wait to start studying music. With that I’ll be a full time student and performing for the Songbook Foundation, so it’s going to be very busy, but it’s all things I love so I’m very excited.”
For more information, visit thecenterfortheperformingarts.org.