Carly Lenett to Receive Lehigh Valley Music Awards’ Community Youth Award

Three local students will be recognized for their talent in the classroom and on the stage during this year’s Lehigh Valley Music Awards (LVMA). Emmaus High School’s Julia Bezems, Phillipsburg High School’s Julianna Sweeney and Berklee College of Music’s Ryland Holland have been named the recipients of this year’s Youth Education Scholarship Awards, to be awarded during the LVMA ceremony presented by Tri-Outdoor Advertising March 5, 4 p.m., in the ArtsQuest Center’s Musikfest Café. Tickets for the awards are $20 and on sale now at and 610-332-3378.

Bezems serves as president of her high school’s National Honor Society, drama department and AcaBellas singing group. She is also a member of Emmaus’ Chorale group, and has attended All-State and All-National Choir. Bezems looks to bring her passion for music with her next year when she double majors in vocal performance and computer science at the collegiate level.

A senior at Phillipsburg High School, Sweeney has been performing since kindergarten and has written music since the fifth grade. To date she has written 20 songs and has performed both with her school and as a solo act at various community events. Sweeney has also been producing music since her sophomore year, earning her awards at both the local and state levels. Next year she plans to attend The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., with a focus on singing and songwriting/composition.

Holland is best known as lead guitarist for the progressive rock band NEXT TO NONE. Their 2015 album A Light in the Dark earned its way to No. 8 on the iTunes Metal Chart. He has since retired from the band to attend Berklee College of Music, where he still composes, records and performs. Holland also teaches guitar, piano and Spanish and is a worship leader at church.

In recognition of their academic achievements and a desire to pursue their passion for music at the collegiate level, Bezems, Sweeney and Holland are this year’s recipients of the Youth Education Scholarship Awards.

Lehigh Valley Music Awards’ Community Youth Award.  When Carly Lenett dives in the pool, she means business. The 11-year-old Macungie native has combined her love of swimming with a passion for diabetes advocacy by participating in local swim-a-thons for the past four years. Along the way, the sixth grader from Eyer Middle School has earned more than $100,000 to support research and awareness of the disease that both she and her father live with. In recognition of her tireless work and dedication, Lenett is the recipient of this year’s Lehigh Valley Music Awards’ Community Youth Award. The award will be presented March 5 during the LVMA ceremony sponsored by Tri-Outdoor Advertising.

Shortly after she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 3, Lenett jumped in the pool to try and swim after her older brother. Although her parents were worried at first that she wouldn’t know navigate the water, she quickly proved herself to be a natural, swimming full laps in the pool by the time she was 4. A few years later, Lenett dove head first into raising awareness for diabetes during her first swim-a-thon. Only 7 years old, she swam 100 laps and raised $10,000.

To date, Lenett has completed more than 1,000 laps, or about 12 miles, in support of diabetes awareness. After five successful swim-a-thon events, in 2016 she helped found Team Carly Rocks Foundation, a nonprofit that looks to raise awareness of diabetes and fight the disease through fitness.

Each year, the LMVAs honor an outstanding youth in the community with their Community Youth Award to spread awareness of local children who are battling diseases such as autism, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and pediatric cancer. On March 5, the organization hopes the community will attend the music awards to meet and support one incredibly strong young woman, Carly Lenett.