High school violist receives multiple full-ride scholarships despite times of homelessness

Schools are lining up to teach the 2019 graduate.


A musician's approach to his craft can tell you just about everything. It's a measured response, highs and lows, and Jafre Chase is into the next movement of a dramatic piece of life.

"Oh, I don't think it will ever get easy. I have so much to learn," Chase said.

Schools are lining up to teach the 2019 graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts.

"Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan, the University of Maryland College Park and the Peabody Institute," Chase said.

Four full-ride scholarship offers.

There is understandable joy for where he is going, when you consider where he has been.

"My family and I, we were homeless for a few months during my 10th grade year and almost a majority of my junior year," he said.

The old Salvation Army on Calvert Street was home, providing him not only a place to rest his head, but the halls echoed with his music.

"What is more exceptional is that this all happened during this critical period right before preparation for all of these college auditions," said Mellasenah Edwards, his conductor and the high school's music department head.

Edwards had no idea of Chase's living conditions until he came looking for practice space. She knew of his promise ever since he was a fifth grader in the Free Twigs Music Program.

"For him to be able to maintain this exceptional level of work and discipline through this time and to find these places to practice and then also maintain decent grades at the time and to get ready for those auditions is remarkable," Edwards said.

Words like remarkable and extraordinary are heard often, whether it's about his music or his resilience, woven in a melody that has carried him a long way.