One area teen who plays three instruments and sings in her church choir claims her musical talent is inherited.
"My talent comes from my dad's side of the family," said 16-year-old Jessica Holland who plays the violin, clarinet and mandolin. "They all can sing and play the guitar, and my grandmother plays the piano."
And when it comes to musical success, Jessica has a few highlights to add to her own resume. She performed in last month's St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago, has performed twice at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., and has volunteered her time to perform for patients at Doctors Hospital.
"It's very challenging, and it keeps me very busy," said Jessica, who has played the violin for six years and has been a member of the Suzuki Youth Strings of Augusta for the past four years. "I'm never home."
Jessica practices twice each month during group lessons with the Suzuki group under the direction of Lois Akins. She also takes private lessons from Akins' daughter, Kim Chavous.
Jessica Holland is a 16-year-old sophomore at Evans High School. She has played the violin for 6 years. She also plays
clarinet in Evans' marching band and wind ensemble.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"When she first started taking (lessons) from me, she had taken somewhere else and what she had learned was all wrong," said Chavous, who has been teaching for about 10 years. "We had to undo three years of training, and it was hard work, but her dedication through it all was amazing."
Though Jessica's first love is the violin, she took up playing the clarinet four years ago and now is a member of the Evans High School marching band and woodwind ensemble.
"She is a superb young lady," said Evans High band director Reid Hall. "She plays clarinet in our top band and has sat very high in the section, even as a sophomore. Jessica participates in all aspects of our program."
The daughter of Kenny Holland of North Augusta and Wayne and Michele Dewyngaert of Martinez, Jessica has participated in District Honor Band for the past four years and made it to the first round of all-state this year. She has been named to the solo and ensemble team for the past four years, having earned a perfect score each year.
"She understands how important it is to be responsible for her individual part and how it fits into the whole concept of playing in a performing ensemble," Hall said. "Jessica is a very hard worker and demonstrates true leadership to her peers by her willingness to always get the job (done)."
"It's just fun," said Jessica, an A/B honor student, of learning new music.
She is a member of the Abilene Baptist Church choir and orchestra. As a member of the Suzuki Youth Strings of Augusta's senior ensemble, Jessica also performs at weddings and other paid events.
"She's great and always has a good attitude, and when you get to the teenage years, you don't see that very often," Chavous said.
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