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Fox youth lineup includes arias and more

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 5, 2009 - Marquis Murphy, a senior at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, gets his moment in the spotlight on Thursday. During past school performance nights at the Fox Theater, he’s taken the stage with his high school choir. But this year, he’s going it alone. Murphy is performing as an opera soloist at the seventh annual "St. Louis Performing Arts Night" at the Fox, which begins at 7 p.m.

This is the first year that the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation is making a push for the general public to attend. The event is free but tickets are required for admission. They are available through participating schools or the Fox box office, 527 North Grand Blvd.

Roughly 400 students from several St. Louis school districts will take part in the concert. They represent elementary, middle and high schools, as well as performing arts organizations. The program is open to any school in the region, and most of the students being showcased are from area public schools.

The performance features all types of music – classical, contemporary and jazz, among others. There are ensembles, choirs, concert bands, orchestras, and a song-and-dance troupe. Some performing groups are as large as 68 people.

Murphy is the only student set to perform solo. He recently won Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ artist-in-training award, which honors performance, attendance and work ethic. On Thursday he will perform the piece that helped win him the award. As his reward, Murphy gets scholarship money that he plans to use to attend Fisk University next year. He said he is still “speechless” about the award. “I really needed it, but it caught me by surprise.”

Murphy has been singing since he was 4 years old. At first it was mostly gospel music through his church. He joined the advanced ensemble and glee club at Central High, and has been involved in Opera Theatre since his sophomore year.

In college, Murphy said he plans on being pre-med, with his eventual goal of being a pediatric surgeon. He’s also wrestled with the idea of becoming a professional opera singer.

“If that opportunity comes I won’t let it pass,” he said.

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