Jennifer Zabelsky earns command performance at state |

Jennifer Zabelsky earns command performance at state

by Merrie Leininger

“Singing in the Sunshine” was her first solo at the kindergarten graduation, and 12 years later, Jennifer Zabelsky is the pride of Douglas High School as the female solo state vocal winner.

Zabelsky, the daughter of Douglas High School music director Bill Zabelsky and Leslie Zabelsky, was awarded “command performance” at the April 14 All-state Solo and Ensemble Festival in Elko.

The judges pick the best performance in each category and that person performs in front of the whole crowd.

Zabelsky said she was shocked when she learned her performance of “Ah! Je Veux Vivre,” from the opera “Romeo et Juliette” had won the top spot.

“Someone came up to me and told me I got command performance, and I said, ‘No I didn’t.’ I went up to the list and saw my name there and started yelling.”

“I think the ceiling was 50 feet high and she jumped up and hit it. Then she gave me a big hug,” her father said.

“I knocked his glasses off,” Zabelsky laughed.

Zabelsky said she always gets nervous at competition, even though she has performed, and received a superior at three previous state solo and ensemble contests, and is the section leader in the All-state Choir.

“I always get nervous, but people say I don’t show it,” she said. “But at the concert, I didn’t get nervous, I just had fun. It was such an exhilarating feeling that so many people were watching and I was being cheered on my by school and by all the other schools.”

Her mother said as soon as Jennifer started singing, the tears began flowing and she remembered her daughter’s first solo was at the request of her kindergarten teacher, who had her sing “Singing in the Sunshine” at the kindergarten graduation.

Zabelsky and her sister, Amy, 15, a sophomore at DHS, will be singing the duet they received a superior rating for at the festival at the May 13 DHS choral concert. She will also perform the song that won her the top award.

Every senior who sang at state and any student who got a superior rating will be performing at the concert, Bill Zabelsky said.

Zabelsky recently received a $2,800 scholarship to study voice and music education at the University of Nevada-Reno next fall. She will also be playing in the marching band.

Zabelsky plays trumpet in the jazz band, French horn in the concert band, and was marching band drum major this year. The soprano is also in the Madrigal Singers and Image, the jazz choir and sings in the St. Gall Catholic Church choir.