How many times do you hear a teenager admitting that his mother was right after all?
With Daniel Sanchez, you may hear it a lot.
Around the time he was entering fourth grade, Sanchez’s mother insisted that he audition for the choir of choice rather than sign up for study hall like all his friends. He sang all the time in the house, but had never thought of joining a choir.
“I remember I wasn’t happy about it,” Sanchez recalled of his mother’s decision.
“But,” he added, holding out his palms, “here we are.”
Sanchez did the choir and never looked back.
“I ended up falling in love with singing in the choir and have been connected to vocal music ever since.”
Sanchez, 18, has thrived in the classical vocal program at Orange County School of the Arts and plans to focus on vocal music performance in college.
And he’s the registry’s 2017 artist of the year for vocal music.
The judges described her voice as “mature”, “convincing”, “unaffected” and “seeking”.
For his interview, he sang two classic pieces: Alessandro Scarlatti’s aria “Gia il Sole Dal Gange” in Italian and the French language “Lydia”.
They saw a lot of potential.
“He’s a big, tall tenor who sings beautifully at his age,” said Talena Mara, vice president of education and community at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and former voice teacher at Juilliard.
And Sanchez likes to play. People tell him how much it stands out when they look at him. He likes to hear those comments.
“I just want to keep doing that and try to bring joy to my audience and leave them with that good feeling at the end of what they just watched.”
In addition to opera and classical singing, Sanchez has sung in two barbershop quartets since 2014 – The Overtones and Max Capacity. He credits the experience to having “enhanced” his breathing capacity so he could hold a note for a long, long time.
In a choir, Sanchez said, you have so many other voices singing along with you. “In a hair salon, you are a bit lonely. When you breathe, she better be good and take you to the next station.
The next station for Sanchez will likely be Chapman University in the fall.
Looking back on the decision that set him on his musical path, Sanchez had two words for his mother: “Thank you, Mom.”
Amanda Dayhoff, 17, Orange Lutheran High School
A trip to New York last year as a Best Actress nominee for the National High School Theater Awards gave Dayhoff a taste for working with industry professionals. She plans to attend a university closer to home and has applied to Azusa Pacific University and Concordia University.
The judging panel thought her rendition of “Lost in the Brass” from the musical “Band Geeks” was flawless.
Katherine Kivinski, 18, Dana Hills High School
As a singer-songwriter, jazz is Kivinski’s musical genre. For the judging panel, she performed Ella Fitzgerald’s “Round Midnight” and an original song, “I Know,” which blends jazz with pop.
She is currently writing a musical with her best friend, Taylor Plett. Kivinski’s dream is to attend the music program at USC, even though his parents are UCLA alumni.
Alyssa Schickling, 17, Mater Dei High School
She still has a year of high school but is considering a career in music. It comes naturally – Schickling’s grandmother was an opera singer and her grandfather performed on Broadway.
After hearing her sing “Ah, Je Veux Vivre” from the opera “Romeo and Juliet”, Stephen Coker, professor of vocal music at Chapman University, said: “She may be one of the the older ones, if it continues.”
THE TOP 10 SELECTION COMMITTEE:
Scott HedgecockFullerton Union High School; Darrell HunterCapistrano Valley Christian School; Heide JanssenOrange County Register; Scott MelvinMater Dei High School; Tim NelsonHuntington Beach APA; nancy stuckBeckman High School
ARTIST OF THE YEAR SELECTION PANELISTS:
Robin Buckprofessor of music, UC Irvine; Paul HodginsPerforming Arts Writer, Orange County Register; Darren Huntervocal music teacher, Capistrano Valley Christian School; Heide JanssenAcademic Arts Writer, Orange County Register; Talena Maravice president of education and community, Segerstrom Center for the Arts; nancy stuckvocal music teacher, Beckman High School; Dubravka ZubovicManaging Director, OC Ars Vocalis Academy
SPECIAL THANKS at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, which generously provided rehearsal space for the Top 10 interviews.
CONTACT VARSITY ARTS: 714-796-2258 or [email protected]