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Higher Notes

Meadows voice professor donates talent, time to help build concert choir at high school in South Dallas

Virginia Dupuy and alumni backstage at The Metropolitan Opera for SMU voice alum Juan de Leon's Met debut in "Two Boys" by Nico Muhly. Left to right: Will Trice (producer with Broadway entertainment firm Jeffrey Richards Associates), Stephen Hartley (played the role of the father in "Two Boys,") Juan de Leon, Virginia Dupuy and Trey Pratt.

Virginia Dupuy has a reputation as one of the top concert singers in the country. Her students at SMU Meadows School of the Arts have gone on to sing for the Metropolitan Opera, the Dallas Opera and more. And at Dallas’s David W. Carter High School, where 76 percent of students are designated as “at risk,” she is known as a key player helping the once-defunct concert choir to now flourish.

In 2010, Dupuy, professor of voice at Meadows, met Demetrius Ethley, choir director for Carter High. At the time, Ethley was working hard to rebuild the Carter choir program. He told Dupuy there was no money to pay for needed private lessons and vocal coaches. Dupuy stepped up by donating private lessons herself, and she connected the school with the Fine Arts Chambers Players, which started raising money for the choir program. In addition, several of Dupuy’s students have become involved, including Arielle Collier, a Performer’s Diploma graduate student who now coaches the Carter kids twice a week.

“We've gotten kids into the Texas All-Region, then All-State, choir, which has allowed them some great scholarships and matriculation at East Texas Baptist University, Abilene Christian and Sam Houston State,” says Dupuy. “Generous grants through the King Foundation and Fossil Corporation have allowed these deserving students to study private voice, and in the case of four students, private piano lessons.”

By 2014, Ethley had increased the number of Carter choir students to more than 100. Now, the choir performs over 70 times each year, not only in Dallas but in locations such as Disney World, the Texas State Capitol and more. Read more about Carter High's choir program success story.

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