‘Voice’ winner gives Northwest students encouragement

slyttle@charlotteobserver.comMarch 7, 2014 

A group of Mecklenburg teenage artists got a pep talk Friday from one of their own.

Danielle Bradbery, a 17-year-old Texas student who last year won NBC’s “The Voice” competition, visited Northwest School of the Arts as part of a tour of some of the country’s top fine arts schools.

The visit, sponsored by the Disney Performing Arts program and the National Association for Music Education (NAME), was profitable for Northwest. Tour sponsors presented a $1,000 check to the school.

“And I’ll match that,” Bradbery said shortly after she performed for several hundred Northwest students in the school’s auditorium.

Officials from Disney and NAME selected Northwest School of Arts as one of five stops on a national tour calling attention to the importance of music education. The other schools were in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee and included the Houston area’s Cypress Ranch High, where Bradbery is a student.

“Each school, each city has its own form of energy, and Northwest’s arts energy was fantastic,” said Rich Tamayo, an ambassador for Disney Performing Arts.

Tamayo credited the school’s principal, Melody Sears, for the positive spirit. “It is obvious how passionate she is about the arts and this school,” he said.

Sears said Friday’s celebration was another in a series of positive developments for Northwest.

“I believe we are already the best arts school in the nation,” she said. “Now we’re working to make sure the whole country knows it.”

In the past year, Northwest students have traveled to Nebraska to perform “The Color Purple,” and senior Eva Noblezada was picked for a lead role in a London presentation of “Miss Saigon” in May.

“And there has been a lot more,” Sears said.

Bradbery met with students upon her arrival and then headed for the auditorium. There, flanked by two members of her touring band, she performed two of her songs – “Never Like This” and her current release, “Heart of Dixie.”

She also talked on stage with Tamayo and told Northwest students that a love of the arts can open many doors for them.

“Look what it’s done for me,” she said.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle

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