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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
I'm Possible

I'm Possible

A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream

Richard Antoine White

Flatiron Books

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From the streets of Baltimore to the halls of the New Mexico Philharmonic, a musician shares his remarkable story in I'm Possible, an inspiring memoir of perseverance and possibility.

Growing up, Richard Antoine White and his mother didn’t have a key to a room or a house. Sometimes they had shelter, but they never had a place to call home. Still, they always had each other, and from a young age, Richard believed he could look after his mother, even as she struggled with alcoholism and would frequently disappear, sending Richard into loops of visiting familiar spots until he found her again. And he always did—until one night, when he almost dies searching for her in the snow, and is taken in by his adoptive grandparents.

Living with his grandparents is an adjustment with rules and routines, but when Richard joins band for something to do, he unexpectedly discovers a talent and a sense of purpose. Taking up the tuba feels like something he can do that belongs to him, and playing music is like a light going on in the dark. Soon Richard gains acceptance to the prestigious Baltimore School for the Arts, and continues thriving in his musical studies as he navigates racial and socioeconomic disparities as one of few Black students in his programs.

With fierce determination, Richard pushes forward on his remarkable path, eventually securing a coveted spot in a symphony orchestra and becoming the first African American to earn a doctorate in music for tuba performance. A professor and me… More…

From the streets of Baltimore to the halls of the New Mexico Philharmonic, a musician shares his remarkable story in I'm Possible, an inspiring memoir of perseverance and possibility.

Growing up, Richard Antoine White and his mother didn’t have a key to a room or a house. Sometimes they had shelter, but they never had a place to call home. Still, they always had each other, and from a young age, Richard believed he could look after his mother, even as she struggled with alcoholism and would frequently disappear, sending Richard into loops of visiting familiar spots until he found her again. And he always did—until one night, when he almost dies searching for her in the snow, and is taken in by his adoptive grandparents.

Living with his grandparents is an adjustment with rules and routines, but when Richard joins band for something to do, he unexpectedly discovers a talent and a sense of purpose. Taking up the tuba feels like something he can do that belongs to him, and playing music is like a light going on in the dark. Soon Richard gains acceptance to the prestigious Baltimore School for the Arts, and continues thriving in his musical studies as he navigates racial and socioeconomic disparities as one of few Black students in his programs.

With fierce determination, Richard pushes forward on his remarkable path, eventually securing a coveted spot in a symphony orchestra and becoming the first African American to earn a doctorate in music for tuba performance. A professor and mentor, Richard now shares his extraordinary story—of dreaming big, impossible dreams and making them come true.

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Praise for I'm Possible

"An evocative portrait of ambition and artistic aspiration . . . a vivid, inspiring saga of talent sprouting in unlikely places."
Publishers Weekly

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Reviews from Goodreads

Richard Antoine White

Richard Antoine White began his tuba studies at the Baltimore School for the Performing Arts, where he graduated with honors. He went on to receive his bachelor's degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and his master's and doctoral degrees at Indiana University. Dr. White was principal tubist of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra from 2004 until its untimely demise in 2011. He is now principal tubist of the Santa Fe Symphony and is in his tenth season as principal tubist of the New Mexico Philharmonic. He enjoys teaching at the University of New Mexico, where he is professor of tuba/euphonium.

image of Richard Antoine Whiteo
Adam Fenster