SOUTH HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — He has a full ride to college, a career path set to music.
Matt Luca, a senior at St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, Long Island, was stunned to receive perhaps the most prestigious scholarship for the organ in America, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“When you’re that kid who doesn’t get an athletic scholarship or an academic scholarship, it turns heads,” said Luca, 17.
And heads of classmates are turned by the prowess of the talented musician.
“I started at the piano when I was 4 years old,” he said. “I took some time off because, at that point, I wasn’t really mature yet and I was lazy.”
Just three years ago at Easter Mass, Luca became focused on the organ.
“I had my first lesson, and it was definitely a life-changing experience,” he said. “Just fell in love with it, and I was determined to be the best.”
Every other year, College of the Holy Cross searches the country for the most talented organist. This was supposed to be an off year, but when school officials heard Luca play, a dispensation was granted.
“And here I am accepting this scholarship that I wasn’t even supposed to get ’cause I just believed and worked,” he said.
Said Don Corrao, director of development at St. Anthony’s: “He’s got terrific training on the outside. He was at the School of Rock. He was in the top 1 percent of that program and went on a national tour. And he was in the Julliard precollege program.”
Luca said that depending on his homework load, he could practice up to four hours a day, and six hours a day during summers.
The honored Holy Cross organ scholar must agree to major in music with a career goal in the organ.
“I want to be a collegiate professor, and this is how my journey begins,” Luca said.
He can’t wait to get started.