Notre Dame student to sing at Carnegie HallWritten by Danielle Stanton | | email@example.com
Sixteen-year-old April Varner, a junior at Notre Dame Academy (NDA), is looking forward to adding Carnegie Hall to her resume.
The lifelong vocalist will sing at the New York City venue Dec. 22.
“I’m very excited,” Varner said. “It should be really fun, especially during Christmastime when everything is decorated.”
Varner was chosen to perform at the prestigious Manhattan concert hall as part of the fall 2013 American Protégé International Music Talent Competition.
Her taped audition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Misérables” and “If I loved You” from “Carousel” was chosen as a first-place winner from applicants from around the world. Winners will perform in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.
Varner, who will be the 30th out of 34 performances, will sing “I Dreamed a Dream.” She will be accompanied by a pianist from the Manhattan School of Music.
“It will definitely be a great experience,” Varner said. “My dream is to get to Broadway. To say I performed [at Carnegie Hall] is good. And you never know who is going to be in the audience.”
She’s a little nervous, she said, but has been performing since she was very young.
“I was 3 years old in the bathtub singing and my parents were outside the door listening,” she said. “I kind of taught myself.”
She listened to the choir in church and tried to imitate them, she said. Her family knew she was born to sing when Varner belted out Disney movie tunes while the family ate at a Fricker’s restaurant, she said.
“We’re extremely proud,” said Varner’s mother, Diane. “She watched all the Disney movies and memorized all the princess songs. We were taking her to church and she watched the choir and … she was 4 and she said, ‘I want to do that.’
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” Diane said. “We were just really surprised and are so excited about going [to Carnegie Hall]. I never imagined 10 years ago when she started performing that we would be where we are today.”
Varner and her parents will fly to New York City on Dec. 20, staying for a Dec. 21 rehearsal and the recital the following day. The family may catch a showing of “The Phantom of the Opera,” which April has never seen, her mother said.
Varner most recently performed at another famous venue, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., with an all-national ensemble.
At NDA, Varner is a part of an a cappella ensemble and has performed in the school’s fall musical for the past three years. She also played Fantine in St. Francis de Sales’ spring production of “Les Misérables” and was a cast member in the school’s 2012 production of “Guys and Dolls.”
She is a member of Notre Dame’s dance and speech teams. She is also a member of the choir at Christ the King Church, where she is a cantor.
Varner plans to major in vocal performance in college. Her school of choice is the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.
Legendary musicians who have performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall include Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Judy Garland, Ike and Tina Turner, Glenn Miller, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
The concert hall has 3,671 seats in three auditoriums. It was designed by architect William B. Tuthill and built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891.
The hall was the longtime home of the New York Philharmonic until that orchestra moved to Lincoln Center in the 1960s.
Tags: April Varner, architect William B. Tuthill, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Carnegie Hall, Christmastime, Disney movie tunes, Duke Ellington, Fantine, Fricker's, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Glenn Miller, Ike and Tina Turner, Judy Garland, Les Miserables, Manhattan School of Music, New York City, Notre Dame Academy (NDA), Notre Dame’s dance and speech teams, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, St. Francis de Sales, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Tennessee, The Beach Boys, The Beatles