Monona Grove High School senior Haley Parvin can’t wait to take the stage at the Capitol Theater in Madison later this month, as she competes in the Overture Center for the Arts Rising Stars program.
“When I heard about the Rising Stars contest at Overture Center, I didn’t even realize there were cash prizes. I thought the real prize was to be able to perform on the stage there,” said Parvin, the daughter of Randy and Kendi Parvin. “So to have made it this far in the competition feels like I really have already won. I have never performed in such a huge, beautiful venue, and I am excited to be able to share my music to hundreds of people for the show, especially with 23 other really talented people and acts.”
Those 24 musicians, bands, dancers, magicians and other entertainers will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, as part of the Overture’s 10th anniversary celebration.
Auditions were held at six sites throughout Dane County in the spring and summer, and the finalists have now been chosen. Initially, 83 of those who auditioned were invited back for a second round, and judges then narrowed that list to the current 24.
Parvin’s high school career has been filled with music. She has been in the show choir, the musical, madrigals, orchestra and choir all four years.
“Music is the place where I really feel most accepted and able to express myself,” she said. “That being said, I am extremely lucky to attend a school with such an amazing music program and so many talented students. Mrs. (Lori) Nahirniak and her husband, Taras, do so much to make Monona Grove’s show choirs and musicals the best they can be.”
Parvin doesn’t limit her involvement in music to the walls of the high school.
“I have been taking voice lessons since seventh grade and piano for a few years,” she said. “Along the way, I have had the chance to work with some very talented people such as my current instructors, Rachel Holmes (voice) and Deb Scallisi (piano), as well as my past voice teacher, Caitlin Cisler.”
And, as if that isn’t enough, during her freshman year, Parvin taught herself how to play guitar and ukulele. That endeavor led her writing songs.
“I have written several songs and have been able to perform at places around Madison like Paoli School House Cafe, High Noon Saloon, the farmers market and The Pizza Oven,” she said.
She has also recorded several of her original songs at Madison Media Institute, and through the help of people, there, developed a CD called “The World is Waiting.” Her music can also be heard on Facebook and SoundCloud.
It’s because of that dedication, involvement and skill level that Parvin is among the Rising Stars finalists.
“We were just blown away by the level of talent we found right here in our area,” said Overture Center Vice President of Programming Tim Sauers. “They didn’t make the decisions easy on us. The lineup we’ve put together will make for an amazing night of entertainment, and some really great performers will get the spotlight they deserve.”
Parvin’s parents are justifiably proud of their daughter.
“We are extremely proud of her, not just for making the finals, but for everything she’s done with music,” Kendi Parvin said. “When she was little, she was really shy – and still can be – but it seems like music has given her so many great opportunities to express herself, both through performing and writing songs. I can’t sing a note, so I’m guess I’m a little awestruck by it all.”
The Parvins have a second daughter, Ainsley, 14, who is a high school freshman. She is also involved in show choir and orchestra, as well as the swim and soccer teams.
Parvin intends to go to college and study music education as well as something contemporary-based such as a commercial music program.
Her top school choices are Berklee College of Music in Boston, Belmont University in Nashville and Roosevelt University in Chicago.
“Though I have been classically trained, I would like to continue taking a contemporary approach to music, which is why these schools interest me,” she said. “In addition to performing, I have decided that teaching others the melodies and harmonies of music is something that will be important to me, so being a choir teacher is definitely a path I want to take. Plus, I know that without all of the teachers and mentors I have had along the way, I may not have found my passion for music, and definitely would not be where I am today.”
And, like many high school students, she is busy outside of school. Because music is such a big part of her life, she finds a way to make it fit.
“I have been working at Monona Grove pool for about a year and a half, and the flexibility in hours they offer there is extremely helpful in balancing my hectic schedule,” Parvin said. “Sometimes it can be hard to make sure I am keeping my grades up, especially in AP (Advanced Placement) classes. However, I actually find that being involved in music helps me to do well in school.
“Music is something I use as an outlet and stress reliever. If I am ever feeling overwhelmed by the twists and turns of life, I just sit down and write a song about it. A lot of times I notice that my songs go from sad to happy, and that’s just how I’m feeling when writing a song. Picking up my guitar and singing simply makes me feel better.”