PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry sophomore Daphne Dotson has been invited to sing at the 68th-annual Mars Hill University/J. Elwood Roberts Choral Festival.
Daphne began singing while in elementary school.
“My fourth-grade music teacher suggested I try Honors Chorus,” said Daphne. After singing in Honors Chorus with Sherri Collins for three years, Daphne went on to perform with All-State Chorus as well as being cast in several theatrical productions at the Andy Griffith Playhouse in Mount Airy.
With more than 100 high schools sending more than 700 students to audition, the Mars Hill Festival Choir includes about 300 students from across the state. The audition for this region was held at Mount Tabor High School in October.
According to Daphne, her choral director at East Surry, Chris Lawson, encouraged her to audition. “It’s a nerve-wracking experience,” said Daphne of the audition, adding that waiting for her turn was the worst part. The judges have a set criteria they evaluate including voice quality, knowledge of music, phrasing and dynamic.
As the only student from East Surry accepted, an ability to read the music and practice alone is vital.
“We will have one overnight trip with really intense rehearsals,” Daphne said, explaining that the entire group will not be together again until the weekend of the concert.
Still uncertain about her future, Daphne is considering attending college to earn a double major in performing arts and bio-medical engineering. “I love the arts, but it’s important to have a fall-back plan,” she said.
The admission-free festival will be held on Feb. 5-6 with Russian-born conductor Elena Sharkova, who is in her 14th year as artistic director of Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, San Jose, California, as the guest conductor. The Festival Choir will perform during the closing concert on Feb. 6.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.