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Singer Amanda Powell Performs in Telethon

Little Rocky Run's Amanda Powell once made beautiful music with the choir at Centreville High. And this 1998 grad has continued doing so, both locally and around the world.

She received a bachelor's in music/voice performance, last May, from Shenandoah University in Winchester. And most recently, she was a featured soloist in the Dec. 6 telethon, "In Mission Together," sponsored by the United Methodist Church Board for Global Mission. Broadcast on the INSP channel, the event raised funds for mission projects around the world.

It originated from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, original home of the Grand Ole Opry, and included performances by Willie Nelson, Judy Collins and Shirley Jones. Powell, 22, sang, "Lo, God is Here," recorded on the CD, "Songs of Love and Praise," released in 2003.

"It was just an amazing place," she said. "And it was fabulous — not only to get to meet Shirley Jones, 'Mama Partridge,' but to get to sing with her, too."

POWELL'S CONNECTIONS with global mission stem back to her participation in an East Asian Tour of new churches in the summer 2001. She joined a group of 23 musicians to perform music and bring a message of hope to seven Asian countries. The tour included performances in Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, China and Mongolia.

The audiences were overflowing and enthusiastic, and Powell was a soloist. The group also produced a CD of sacred music from around the world. "I visited two of the new mission centers in Mongolia and Cambodia," said Powell. "I was at the telethon to sing a piece and do an interview about my experiences visiting Cambodia."

She also performed in summer 2001 in Italy — at the famed St. Mark's Square in Venice — and Switzerland. At Shenandoah, she studied and performed classical singing and opera, while entertaining as a soloist in a variety of venues.

And this summer, Powell performed in the Chartre Cathedral outside Paris. "It was so great," she said. "I sang an early music piece that might have been performed there several centuries ago, so it was a wonderful experience."

The versatile Powell has also sung with local jazz artists on numerous occasions. However, she most often performs in a duo, playing piano and singing, while her boyfriend, Sergio Castellanos — who received a masters in cello performance from Shenandoah — plays cello.

They play a wide range of music at various events, including weddings, and are especially popular in the Winchester area. "I sing everything from jazz to opera to Latin American music," said Powell. "We try to keep ourselves as diverse as possible."

In 2000 and 2001, she was on the music faculty of the Foxcroft School in Middleburg — a private boarding school for high-school girls — and returned again in September. She teaches voice and piano to individual students and is the pianist for all their choir events.

Now, Powell's focusing on her future and trying to discover what direction she wants to go in musically. With an interest in so many genres of music — and a strong talent — her choices are virtually unlimited.

"I HOPE, in my life, I can find a way to be a part of all the different types of music that I love," she explained. "I'm really interested in world music — promoting tolerance and bridging gaps between cultures through music."

And not surprisingly, Powell hopes to continue performing. "In Asia, I had such a great time," she said. "We'd sing a song in English, and they'd sing a song in their language. I believe it's important to sing music — and not just one genre. I think the best gift we can give to the art of music, as singers, is to do it all."

Powell is the daughter of Miki and Scott Powell of Clifton's Little Rocky Run community. She has two sisters, Karlen, 19, a sophomore at Wellsley College in Boston, and Faith, 8, a third-grader in the Spanish Immersion program at London Towne Elementary. For more information about Powell or her duo, e-mail her at amandasergio@aol.com.)