News Releases

Lander music graduates continue to learn and impress

August 27, 2015

Three Lander University music graduates have been continuing their studies and, at the same time, showing off the talents they developed at Lander by participating in opera workshops and country music events.

Soprano Markela Dandy, of Graniteville, and mezzo-soprano Haley Shelton, of Greenwood, were accepted by audition to take part in the 2015 Harrower Summer Opera Workshop, at Georgia State University, in Atlanta. The three-week event featured comprehensive opera theatre training, including private vocal coaching, acting and movement, master classes with international artists, an operatic gala and a fully staged and costumed opera performances.

The two women, both of whom graduated from Lander in 2014, follow in the footsteps of Lander music graduates Alyson Phillips, ’04, and Corrie Woods Mornhinweg, ’13, who also participated at Harrower.

Dandy and Shelton also took part in Opera Breve, a New York City-based nonprofit production company that hosts the annual Vocal Intensive summer young artist and studio program in Wichita Falls, Texas. In addition to other experiences, the program provided them with private coaching and lessons from the company’s voice faculty, pianists and drama coaches.

Markela Dandy, left, of Graniteville, and Haley Shelton, of Greenwood.

In July, Chaney Rolin, of Greenwood, who graduated from Lander in 2010 with a vocal music education degree, took part in a concert dedicated to the memory of country music star Conway Twitty in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. It is a yearly concert presented by the First Lady of Country Music Loretta Lynn and Friends.

 Lander music chair Dr. Lila Noonkester said Rolin studied classical voice in high school at the South Carolina Governor’s School, but her first love has been a more contemporary music style, ranging between Christian gospel and country.

Rolin’s spontaneous performance during open microphone night at Western Town, on Loretta Lynn’s ranch, prompted her granddaughter, Tayla, to invite Rolin to sing at a traditional Sunday morning gospel music event hosted by Lynn’s family.

Chaney Rolin, right, of Greenwood, receives a warm welcome from Tayla Lynn, granddaughter of country music legend Loretta Lynn,.