Bristol, Va., Girl Sings Her Way To A $2,500 Top Prize
By Shana Hoilman | Special to the Herald Courier | June 30, 2008*** This story was published June 23, 2008 in the Bristol Herald Courier.***
Hannah Dishman has experienced many high notes since beginning her singing career in the eighth grade.
The 17-year-old was among the top six high school-age vocalists and top six instrumentalists who recently competed for $18,000 in scholarships at the Paramount Center for the Arts.
Sponsored by the Lions Club of Virginia Bland Foundation, the annual statewide music scholarship competition has given performance opportunities and scholarships to young musicians since 1948.
Hannah won the top prize of $2,500 and represented the Bristol host Lions Club District 24-F with her performance of "Che faro senza Euridice" (I have lost my Eurydice), an Italian opera by composer Christoph Willibald Gluck.
"I love to sing because it gives me comfort and an adrenaline rush at the same time," she said. "I love everything about it. I even like the criticism because I want to become the best I can."
Hannah's musical talent extends to other forms of expression as well. She began playing piano in first grade and guitar in the eighth grade.
Hannah began taking voice lessons with Mark Davis two years ago, and she gives him credit for inspiring her to pursue opera.
"He is absolutely amazing. He is so talented and knows exactly how to teach," she said of Davis. "I used to hate opera, but I started voice lessons and I love it."
Davis, who has several students that went on to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, is impressed with the development of Hannah's mezzo-soprano voice.
"I have had the privilege to watch Hannah's voice blossom into a major prospective professional singer," Davis said. "In my 30 years of teaching, I have rarely encountered so many intangible qualities in one student.
"She has an exceptional instrument, the innate talent to coordinate that instrument, the ear for language and musical style, and most importantly, a deep soul for the language of music."
Involvement in the Bristol Outreach as a worship leader and performing in Virginia High School's productions of "Grease" And "Macbeth" has increased Hannah's desire to pursue music as a career.
She plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi in the fall and major in vocal performance.
"I would eventually love to perform in Italy," Hannah said. "Opera is amazing. It uses your entire body."