High school senior David Deitz is the first ELCO student in seventeen years to be selected to perform at the Pennsylvania State Choral Festival.
And that’s only his second biggest vocal achievement.
At the statewide event held in Pittsburgh this April, Deitz, the son of Jon and Heidi Deitz, was one of just three tenors selected to the upcoming All-National Honor Ensemble for high school students, to be held this be coming November in Orlando, FL.
No one at ELCO can remember any district student making a national choral festival. “David is a once in a career student” says Melodie Fair, David’s choral director at ELCO since he was in middle school.
David earned his singular honor by surviving a series of highly competitive auditions against the best high school vocalists from across the state. It’s both satisfying and a little disappointing. Because he will be a college freshman in November, he will no longer be eligible to actually perform in Florida.
After getting through a district competition against contestants from over eighty high schools, David survived regional “re-auditions” to make it to Pittsburgh in April. It was there that he was named as one of Pennsylvania’s three best tenors, securing a place in the national ensemble.
David has been singing for as long as he can remember. After a third grade talent show, his mom recalls her brother, a music PhD, telling her “your son has perfect pitch.” His first voice coach, Jennifer Lovell, offered to coach him after hearing David perform as Mowgli in a fifth grade production of “The Jungle Book.”
At first David resisted formal instruction. “I thought if I needed coaching, I must be bad. I didn’t want people making fun of me.” Mrs. Lovell worked with David into the 9th grade, and he credits her with giving him a solid foundation in classical vocal performance.
It was about that time that David realized he wanted to be more than a classical vocalist. “I didn’t want to be pigeonholed.” After a year or so without a personal coach, he became the student of Serena Heffner of the Lebanon Valley College musical department, who worked with him on a wide variety of musical genres.
And, he had developed an interest in acting and musical theater. He was invited to an intensive five-week acting program at Boston University in the summer between 10th and 11th grades. His fellow students came from across the United States and five countries.
Since then, he has performed in a number of productions at ELCO, the Lebanon Community Theater, and the Yocum Institute for Art Education in Wyomissing.
He considers his role as music-loving Michael Mell in “Be More Chill” to be his most demanding to date, but his favorite role has been Uncle Fester in the LCT’s production of “The Addams Family.” He even shaved his head for the part.
Always looking to broaden his performance resume, this summer he will be directing the Reading Community Players’ production of “Godspell JR.” And he’s taking tap dancing lessons.
David will be a freshman at L.V.C. this fall. He’ll major in English with a concentration in theater, and minor in musical theater. He wants to apply in his sophomore year to Sight and Sound Conservatory in Lancaster, which draws students from around the world.
When asked where he sees himself after college, he’s keeping his options open. “I see myself in some sort of performance setting.”
“I want to be around performers and feel that energy.”