Teri Vance: Douglas High students raising funds for Carnegie
Francesca Melander, 15, grew up singing Latin American and jazz tunes in local restaurants with her father.
In middle school, she joined the choir because she wanted to perform in musical theater.
Now, she, along with her fellow members of Douglas High School’s elite choir — the Douglas Dynamics — will be performing on one of the world’s largest stages.
Eric Whitacre, a Douglas High graduate and Grammy-Award-winning composer and conductor, invited the students to perform with him at the prestigious Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall.
“I’m just really excited to be able to work with such a talented composer in such a big venue in front of so many people,” Melander said.
The choir will participate in a performance of “The Music of Eric Whitacre” on Nov. 24.
“They were selected because of the quality and high level of musicianship they have demonstrated in past performances,” said Trish Vo, secretary of the Douglas High School Music Department Boosters Club.
Each of the students needs to raise $2,500 for airfare, lodging and other activities, including a Broadway show.
“The kids are really excited,” Vo said. “They really understand the magnitude of what this trip is.”
Her son, Evan Vo, 16, auditioned for the choir his sophomore year on a dare. While he didn’t take it too seriously at first, he has now come full circle.
“Once I got to know all the people, it turned out to be a really great year for me,” he said. “This is such an amazing opportunity to perform at such a well-known venue. Some people don’t get this opportunity ever in their lives.
“This is a life-changing experience for all of us.”
Sydney Diaz, 16, is already seeing the effect it’s having on her classmates to perform with someone who graduated from their high school and is now so successful.
“It’s incredible and so inspirational,” she said. “It’s spurred a couple of people to pursue music after high school, or at least consider it.”
Diaz, who has been singing since kindergarten and a member of the Douglas Dynamics all three years of high school, said she plans to continue singing for life.
“It’s something I find comfort in, and I’ve discovered I’m capable of doing it well,” she said. “It’s a hobby I’m passionate about.”
The choir is hosting a fundraising dinner beginning 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Carson Valley United Methodist Church, 1375 Centerville Lane, in Gardnerville.
Cost is $10 a person or $30 for a family of four. Raffle prizes for adults and children will be drawn.
A Go Fund Me page has also been set up for donations. To contribute, go to http://www.gofundme.com/douglas-dynamics-to-carnegie-hall.
The students are grateful to the community for its support.
Dellta Waldburger, 17, who auditioned for the Dynamics for the first time this year, fell instantly in love.
“This group is so amazing and so talented,” she said. “I’m so lucky to be a part of it.”
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at email@example.com.