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Watauga County Arts Council Awards Rising Young Talents with Vocal Music Scholarships

2016 Vocal Scholarship Winners Hope Langston and Rachel Sabo-Hedges
2016 Vocal Scholarship Winners Hope Langston and Rachel Sabo-Hedges

The Watauga County Arts Council, at their recent 2nd Saturday Celebration of the Arts, presented two Vocal Music Scholarship Awards to two talented young women from Watauga County, Hope Langston and Rachel Sabo-Hedges.

Langston is the daughter of John and Stacy Langston. She will be using her scholarship funds to participate in the Fine Arts Summer Academy in Nashville, Tennessee.  Langston spent her early years in Yunnan, China where she spent much of her time singing and teaching herself how to play guitar.  When the family moved to Boone, Langston got her first opportunity to participate in a musical as an 8th grader at Parkway Elementary. She also began taking piano lessons and taught herself to play the ukulele.  As a freshman at Watauga High she was active in her drama and chorus classes and participated in the A Capella and Ukulele clubs after school.  She attended the Fine Arts Summer Academy last year where she performed at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville as well as on the stage of the Grand Old Opry.   Having had such a positive experience, Langston not only applied for a scholarship from the Watauga County Arts Council, but she also has a GoFund me campaign and occasionally sings on the street corners on King Street in downtown Boone in order to earn money to go back to Nashville again this summer.  She has performed several times for the Arts Council at their 2nd Saturday Celebrations of the Arts.

Sabo-Hedges is the daughter of Karen Sabo.  She will be using her scholarship funds to participate in the Triple Arts Musical Theatre Intensive at Western Carolina University this July.  As the daughter of two theatre artists, Sabo-Hedges has been around theatre all of her life.  She has also sung all her life and has studied at Appalachian with Sarah Bailey, Linda Larsen, and Lauren Hayworth.  Sabo-Hedges has performed at the Barter Theatre and was a student at the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts where she had additional performing experience and took classes in musical theatre, acting, and dance.  Since coming to Boone, Sabo-Hedges has been actively involved in numerous school activities and received several awards in elementary school, followed by an equally active career thus far at Watauga High School including playing volleyball and lacrosse as well as serving as Vice President of the student body for Student Council.   She is a member of The Playmakers and was given key roles in two musical productions.  As a guitar player, she has played and sung in front of audiences for open mic nights, downtown on King Street in Boone, and also sings for the residents at Appalachian Brian Estates.

The Watauga County Arts Council is very pleased to be able to honor these two rising young talents with these awards.  Funding for the Vocal Music Scholarship Program comes from an annual event called “Celebrate Singing” each fall.  This event, the brainchild of Dr. Roland Moy (a member of the WCAC Advisory Council who himself is a seasoned barbershop singer featured in The Mountainaires Quartet as well as Triad Harmony and several other singing groups) showcases different types of singers and different styles of singing.  Music teachers are encouraged to bring their students to perform and to listen to other groups at this event and it is also greatly enjoyed by the public.  The event is free, but donations are accepted.   The next Celebrate Singing is planned for Friday, October 28th.  Additional funding for the Vocal Music Scholarship Program comes from private donations.

To contribute to the Scholarship Programs of the WCAC or to simply learn more about them, contact the Arts Council at 828-264-1789.