AAPS Updates

Huron senior follows dream to sing opera on the European stage

Fundraiser for Darren Fedewa

What: Fedewa’s senior recital will raise money for this Huron High School senior and his trip to the Saarburg Festival in Germany.
When: 8 p.m., Friday, April 15
Where: Huron High School, 2727 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor
Donations: Donations may be made on the day of the senior recital, or donations are welcome via mail. Make checks out to “Darren Fedewa
 Festival Fundraising” and mail them to: 3298 Turnberry Lane, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
Details: For more about the festival, visit: http://www.saarburgfestival.de/

From AAPSNews Service

Darren Fedewa’s dream is to perform in European venues as a professional singer. The Huron High School senior baritone has held onto that dream since he began singing with a serious mission in middle school.

Darren Fedewa with Huron choir

Darren Fedewa performs a solo number with Huron's A Cappella Choir in Salzburg, Austria last year. (Courtesy, Darren Fedewa)

Fedewa, 17, is likely to get his chance, as he was nominated by an Indiana University professor for the opportunity to attend the Saarburg Festival (http://www.saarburgfestival.de/) in Saarburg, Germany this summer. He has begun his fundraising drive to make his dream a reality.

The Saarburg program is geared for high school, college and young professionals and offers an advanced training program for singers, pianists, composers and instrumentalists who desire careers in European countries. It has an emphasis on individual music enrichment and advancement.

Fedewa’s childhood was filled with music, as his mother is a pianist and piano teacher and obtained her music degree after he was born. “I’ve been around music my whole life,” said Fedewa. “Singing just seems to click with me naturally.”

He joined the middle school choir at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, where he is a member, and also has served as cantor at their Masses. “As I did that more often, it was another catalyst for me,” he explained.

Fedewa has been involved with high school musicals with the Huron Players, has done solo performances at regional, state and national competitions and is involved with a variety of chorale experiences, including Huron’s A Cappella Choir and at summer choir camps at Interlochen and a variety of festivals here and overseas in Austria and Germany. At St. Francis of Assisi, he also is a member of the church’s Contemporary Group.

He also had the experience of performing with a chorale and as a soloist for all opening, closing and liturgical events during the National Catholic Youth Conference of 26,000 youth and adults from throughout the United States.

“For me, I think that wherever you can perform and enjoy doing it is what’s important,” he said.

Fedewa also is looking ahead to college and has a number of auditions pending at music programs here in Michigan and out of state. He has been involved with Huron’s German language program since he was a freshman, he said, which is one of the reasons that a career in Europe appeals to him.

He said singing opera is appealing because of the challenge it offers. “I like that in opera you have to project – the sheer amount of power opera singers have to have in their voices,” he added.

Carlos Montane, a professor of music/voice at the Jacobs Music School at Indiana University-Bloomington nominated Fedewa for this honor. The Huron senior was invited to audition at Indiana U and got an e-mail afterwards from Montane, suggesting he consider it.

Montane congratulated Fedewa on a wonderful audition at IU. “The
committee as well as myself were very impressed with your voice and your singing,” he wrote.

“For his age, he was excellent,” Montane told the AAPSNews. “I thought it would be a good idea for him to take some kind of festival before entering college. I don’t do that just for anybody.” Montane said of the 400-500 music students who audition before IU committees, he only recommends two or three for a summer festival.

Montane said he appreciated Fedewa’s talent. “The quality of his voice – quality is something that you can’t learn,” he said. “He was excellent.”

Fedewa said that he hit a bump in life’s road last year when his father passed away – something that hit him hard and is part of the reason he must do a lot of fundraising for the upcoming trip. He estimates it will take about $4,000 for him to get to the festival.

Ray Digby, an Ann Arbor resident, knows Fedewa from attending the same church and from being active with Boy Scout Troop 27 and also lives near the Fedewa family. He said he is one of a number of people who have encouraged Fedewa to follow his dream and raise money to attend the festival this summer.

“I’ve known Darren for six years and I guess I’m very pleased to see how he’s developed as a person and as a developing opera singer,” Digby said. “He’s been a pretty quick study of which roads to follow. At age 17, he’s making the effort and there’s a lot involved with that.

“I told him that when he’s a world-famous opera singer, I would like a box seat,” he added.

What advice would Fedewa offer to other young singers? “It always has to be something you think about,” he said of his musical goal. “It’s important. If you feel you are called to do something – music or any other career – follow your dream.”

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