Carnegie Hall welcomes Suffolk student

Published 10:27 pm Monday, January 29, 2018

Nansemond River High School junior Felicia Josey, 16, will represent Suffolk on a world-class stage this Thursday.

Felicia was selected to be a member of the 2018 High School Honors Performance Series this Thursday through Monday at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She will rehearse with master conductors and other accomplished high school students from across the country and around the world.

She’s memorizing six choral songs for their special performance in the Midtown Manhattan venue, including two sung in Latin and one Macedonian folk song. She said it’s both overwhelming and exciting.

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“I have to learn them all on my own and know them when I get there,” she said. “It’s pretty much all I do when I get home now, just listen to the songs over and over again.”

The daughter of Keith and Maura Josey, Felicia is also the first Suffolk student selected for the performance series since Haley Maddrey in 2014, according to Joleen Neighbours, NRHS director and Suffolk Public Schools fine arts facilitator.

“To perform at Carnegie Hall is like the pinnacle of most music performers’ careers,” Neighbours said. “She’s 16 years old and gets to perform at Carnegie Hall now.”

Neighbours said it was a no-brainer for her to nominate Felicia, who she described as a quick learner with a talented voice and a powerful understanding of theater and music.

“She’s very artistically inclined,” Neighbours said. “She looks at things on a deeper level than a lot of students. I have no doubt she’ll have a career in the arts.”

When not rehearsing, Felicia and the other honorees will check out a Broadway show and go sightseeing. But Felicia is no stranger to NYC or Broadway.

She grew up spending vacations with her grandparents, Janet and Bill Kelly, in New York City, she said. She remembered the first two shows that captivated her: “Phantom of the Opera” and “The Lion King.”

“Ever since I was younger, I wanted to do some type of performing,” Felicia said. “Now it’s so real.”

Felicia has made All-District Chorus each year at NRHS, according to a press release from Neighbours, and is a winning member of the school’s competitive theater team. She’s had leading roles in many of the school’s productions.

Her favorite role so far has been “Jan,” one of the “Pink Ladies,” in the school’s May performance of “Grease.”

“It was really hard, because we had a lot of dancing to do and I had a lot more lines than previous shows, but it was so fun,” she said.

When it comes to performing, she actually prefers hard-to-learn music in front of a big crowd.

“I feel like it’s more thrilling that way, and I like the reactions from people,” she said.