Arthur Terembula hoped to perform on the big stage during the United Church of Christ’s 2012 National Youth Event.
A cancer survivor, 18-year-old Terembula found another venue Tuesday night after opening worship at NYE 2012 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
The young man from Lehighton, Pa., a member of Neffs (Pa.) UCC, played a pair of songs on his guitar during the UCC’s "Got Talent" performance, one of several after-hours sessions for youth scheduled around the Purdue campus.
Terembula is just happy to play music and talk to others kids during NYE in hopes of "making a difference on any level," he said.
Dozens of young people at another after-hours venue waited in line to meet performers J. Kwest and M.K. Asante during a book and CD signing at the Purdue Memorial Union.
"It was really empowering to hear [Asante's] story," said Jacob Warner.
Laurel and Elsa Toskey said Asante, a writer and filmmaker, was "interesting to hear from," and spoke about topics they never gave much thought to.
Warner, in his second visit to NYE, and the Toskeys are from Houston.
This is Terembula’s second trip to NYE, having attended the event four years ago in Knoxville, Tenn.
"The first one was very inspirational, but I didn’t know what to expect," Terembula said.
"Religion is everything … It's how you connect and how you live. That’s what makes us Christians," he said. "We should [be able to] take bits and pieces from each religion and learn from that."
His Martin guitar was part of a Dream Come True campaign during his treatment. He toured the C.F. Martin factory in Nazareth, Pa., and designed a custom-built guitar. He wrote the first song he played Tuesday night, Friends, during his chemotherapy treatments.
Terembula said he has been cancer-free for 18 months.
He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of cancer that spreads through the lymph nodes, but is treatable. It affected his neck and torso, but doctors said he had a high probability of beating the disease since they detected it early.
"My friends and family were supporting me," he said. "Chemo's not exactly a walk in the park, but it was nice to know I had support."
Terembula said he plans to study music therapy at the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts this fall.