Donovan Blevins, a 16-year-old clarinet player from Mukilteo, Wash., will be trading her high school’s stage for Carnegie Hall at the 2014 High School Honors Performance Series in New York City Feb. 6-10.
She was nominated by a teacher, went through the audition process and was selected for the program.
Donovan has been playing the clarinet for six years.
Her musical talent has not come without challenges.
“Since the first year I began playing the clarinet, I’ve been a musician who is willing to work as hard as I need to, in order to make progress and find success,” Donovan said. “Unfortunately, my hard work has not always been noticed and as a naturally quiet person, I’m not someone who will outright tell people I’m talented. ...
“Last year I participated in a music contest for my county and performed a solo, hoping to get the highest score and move on to a tougher competition. I practiced hard and had high hopes but, unfortunately, when the time came, I did not get the score I had expected and I was crushed. At that point I had two options: quit music and give up, or stick through the disappointment and look at the light at the end of the tunnel. I chose the high road, learned from my mistakes, picked up my clarinet the very next day and I have improved immensely since then. As a musician, it’s difficult to remember that opportunities like this, such as Carnegie Hall, will come eventually.”
She said turning to the Lord has helped her overcome her trials.
“When I’m stressed or I need help and I kneel down and I say, ‘I need your help, I know this is what has been set out for me but how do I do this?’ and I get an answer that strengthens my testimony as to [know] He is there and He listens and … He lives and He’s there to help us get through what we’re meant to be here for.
“I’ve learned that the challenges He has given me have helped me become closer to people and learn more about myself and, having a talent, you’re able to give service to others and you’re able to share with others who aren’t able to play.”
Donovan said she has had the opportunity to play the clarinet in sacrament meeting and for her Young Women group. She also recently taught six people how to play in Mutual.
She hopes to get into the music program at BYU to major in clarinet performance. Donovan is in the Harbour Pointe Ward in the Lynnwood Washington Stake. — Sonja Carlson