North Saanich’s Clayton Butler will attend prestigious art camp this summer

Fourteen-year-old Clayton Butler received a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend a highly esteemed arts camp this summer. He was accepted to Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan after having auditioned with a few songs.

“I was really shocked and excited because a lot of people don’t really get this opportunity to get accepted, so it’s a big deal and I was pretty excited,” he said.

The world’s premier summer arts program is targeted to aspiring artists in Grades 3 through 12 and brings in guest artists. The camp’s alumni includes well-known singers like Norah Jones, Josh Groban, Rufus Wainwright and more.

The audition needed to involve one song of a foreign language, which he chose to do Italian and the other, a classical piece.

Butler, from North Saanich, was one of only a few selected for his age group to attend from entries originating from all over the world.

He said he’s excited to learn new things at the camp, which involves having different teachers come in from all over the world to help the students improve in singing. There is also musical theory, a choir component, opera, classical music and many other things for those wanting a career in the arts.

Butler got his start in the musical world at the age of six, when he began taking violin lessons. Since then, singing, piano, guitar and drum lessons have followed.

“He tormented me for almost a year to take violin,” said his mother, Barb.

But it was singing that was his biggest interest.

“So I actually told his violin teacher that he could sing because I knew she was a singing instructor,” said Barb.

A year later, he stayed late in his lesson, as another group came in to practice. He sat in on their lesson and he started to sing along.

His teacher then called his mother saying he could sing — and the rest was history.

After stopping with the violin, Clayton got into singing full throttle and is into singing mostly pop music today.

“When he started talking, everything was kind of in tune and he started plunking away on the piano,” said his mom, adding that people began calling him ‘Claytoven.’

It was Clayton’s voice instructor, Lexa Yates, who attended Interlochen, that got him interested in auditioning.

Besides his singing, Clayton is also heavily into sports and is enrolled in the golf academy at Claremont Secondary School. He used to play hockey and has been singing the Canadian Anthem every week at the Peninsula Panther’s Junior B home hockey games since he was 11.

Clayton also got the opportunity to sing the Canadian Anthem on live television during the Kraft Hockeyville game, which his minor hockey association won in 2015.

On top of his singing and guitar lessons, he does competitive hip hop at Vibestreet Dance Studio in Victoria.

Clayton will be heading off for the arts camp for six weeks in July and August, and his parents are very proud.

“We’re really excited to see where this will take him, because this is his first big step,” said his mom.

Clayton said when it comes to his future, he hopes to be a singer. Although he hasn’t began songwriting just yet, his goal is to get a good genre of songs under his belt so he can start busking.

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