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A Chorus of Support

A graduate student in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, Emmanuel Fergile has a dream. A dream to teach and help others.

In one year’s time, Fergile will earn his master’s degree in choral conducting. Already equipped with an undergraduate degree in music education from FAU’s College of Education, an internship successfully completed at Coral Springs High School and years of performing experience, Fergile looks forward to a career as a high school music teacher and choral director.

In pursuit of his ambition, Fergile is guided through his conducting tutorials by FAU Professor Patricia Fleitas. These sessions are as strenuous as a workout in the gym. By the end of each one, Fergile is exhausted, yet exhilarated. He knows that while he has much to learn as a conductor, FAU is preparing him well for the future.

Born in the Bahamas to Haitian parents, Fergile grew up speaking Creole at home and English in school. Upon graduation from high school, Fergile worked as a translator for the Haitian Embassy in the Bahamas, and at 18 he joined the Royal Bahamas Police Force where he was a detective constable and part of the drug enforcement unit for 11 years.

Throughout his life Emmanual has demonstrated a love of singing. In 1992, at age 19, he heard about the newly formed Bahamas National Youth Choir, auditioned and was accepted. “The choir was established to recognize the 500-year anniversary of the discovery of the Bahamas by explorer Christopher Columbus, says Fergile. “It was through the Youth Choir that I discovered my own voice. The experience led to private lessons with one of the country’s top vocal coaches.” In his seven years as a member of the Choir, and as part of the Bahamas National Dance Company, Fergile traveled extensively throughout America and Europe.

His performing schedule did not impede his career as a police officer. He earned enough money to support his entire family and eventually bring them to the United States. Fergile enrolled in the College of the Bahamas where he studied computer science, but hoped to complete his education in the U.S. When he was able to afford the move, he came to South Florida and enrolled in Miami-Dade Community College. In 2002, impressed by FAU’s high quality music department, he transferred to FAU.

Scholarships from FAU have enabled him to turn his dream into reality. They have provided him with much needed financial assistance: he has been the recipient of the Adela Bush Merbaum Memorial Scholarship, the Helene C. Alter Memorial Scholarship and the Esther Boyer Griswold Music Scholarship.

Today, Fergile studies and sings with FAU vocal ensembles, but his true aspiration lies in education. “Performing allows me to inspire others. As a choral conductor I will be able to teach my students how music can change their world.”

To support students, such as Emmanuel Fergile, who dream of making a difference, you can make a gift in any amount to FAU’s annual campaign. Contact Tony Lee, director of Annual Giving, at ext. 7-1053 or gifts@fau.edu for more information.


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