Fanning to premiere at Carnegie Hall

Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Fanning to premiere at Carnegie Hall

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It’s the dream of a lifetime and it’s coming true for Danica Fanning, a senior at Miller High School.

She will be performing Sunday, Feb. 10 as a first soprano with the Honors Choir at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Carnegie Hall represents excellence in musical performance, making it the perfect venue for the Honors Performance Series to showcase its student performers.

Danica, daughter of Chris and Leah Fanning, says she’s been singing almost as long as she can remember. “I know I sang in church when I was three or four, and I’ve been singing ever since.”

She was an alternate for All-State Choir in 2010, and was a member of the choir in both 2011 and 2012.

And much as she loves music, she isn’t certain how everything worked out that put her on the path to Carnegie Hall.

“I was nominated, but I’m not sure who nominated me,” Danica explained. “I received a letter from the director of All-State Choir informing me I could try out for the Honors Choir.”

The honor of participation in the Honors Choir and Honors Instrumental Ensembles is limited to a select few high school performers. To be considered for selection, a student must submit a complete application, and be in the ninth through 12th grades during the 2012-2013 school year.

The application process includes completing an application form and performing biography form, and submitting an audition recording.

“Jerry Turner helped me with the audition tape,” Danica said. “I did two selections, ‘Think of Me’ from Phantom of the Opera and a famous aria, ‘Habanera,’ from the opera Carmen. I only sent Habanera.”

She sent the application materials in July, and received the results back on October 31–Halloween. “I was so excited, and so were my family and friends.”

Danica isn’t certain how many musicians will be involved. But she thinks the numbers are about 250 choir members, 150 in Honors Orchestra and 150 in Honors Band. She thinks there may be one other student from South Dakota, but isn’t certain. But she does know the student performers are selected from throughout North America.

According to the Honors Performance Website, The American High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall was established to showcase some of the most talented student performers in high school today. Through an individual nomination and selection process, accomplished students are brought together in New York City with peers to comprise the Honors Choir and Honors Instrumental Ensembles. Several days of rehearsal under the direction of our renowned music conductors culminate in a life-changing performance at Carnegie Hall.”

Danica’s taste in music is not what one might expect in a teen. “I performed ‘The Sound of Music’ when I was in fifth grade. I decided I liked the sound. It was classical from then on out.”

She likes classical music, and she has learned to enjoy opera. She credits MHS music instructor Erica (Leisure) Wieseler for stimulating her interest in opera.

Danica performs lyrics in several languages, including Latin, Italian, French, Hebrew, African and a “little” Spanish. “You have to know how to pronounce the words, to put emotion into the song.”

This year she has spent time preparing an Italian solo for the Region Music Contest, which will be held the day before she leaves for New York City. “You get higher ratings if you have a more difficult selection,” she explains. (By the way, she’s also been accepted as a Music Ambassador, but has opted not to take that route).

Come February 7, Danica will fly out of Sioux Falls to New York, along with her parents, brother and sister, grandparents and a friend.

“I’ve never been to New York before; so that alone is exciting,” she says with enthusiasm.

The Honors members will have time allotted for various activities, including a Broadway show, city tours, a TV morning show and other arranged events that Danica terms “fun stuff.” But much of her time will be taken up with rehearsals, and exposure to and learning from world-class conductors.

Of course, such a trip costs money, and Danica has been seeking help to raise a portion of the program cost. “I’ve sent about 80 letters to companies and businesses, as well as family members. It’s been a good response,” she says.

Once back on South Dakota soil, Danica will resume interning with elementary music teacher Cleo Kleinsasser. Come fall, she will attend Northern State University and major in music education. Her plan is to be an elementary music teacher.

Before than, however, she will perform for both New York concert-going patrons and specially invited collegiate music program representatives.

“Some people aren’t familiar with Carnegie Hall and what it is all about,” Danica commented. “I tell them it’s the Super Bowl of music.”


MHS Senior Danica Fanning will debut onstage at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 10 in New York City.

“S ome people aren’t familiar with Carnegie Hall and what it is all about. I tell them it’s the Super Bowl of music.”

~ Danica Fanning