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Born to be stars: ‘Triple-threat’ Fichter joins Burning Hills Singers

Press Photo by Linda Sailer Dickinson State University student Damon Fichter of Dickinson relaxes on campus March 12. Fichter was recently selected as a cast member of the Medora Musical Burning Hills Singers.

Damon Fichter of Dickinson will literally be kicking up his heels when he sings and dances on the Burning Hills Amphitheatre stage this summer.

The 21-year-old was among the cast chosen to join the Burning Hills Singers and the Medora Musical through auditions at Bismarck.

“I watched the Medora Musical my entire life,” Damon said. “As a kid, I always wanted to be on stage, but I never thought it would happen, so it’s pretty surreal.”

Damon is the son of Gloria Fichter-Rau and Jim Mackey. He is a graduate of Dickinson High School and is a junior music performance major at Dickinson State University.

“The Medora Musical is the perfect stepping stone for a performance career,” Damon said. “I pretty much can go a lot of different directions.”

More than 1,200 singers and dancers auditioned for a spot in the show, Executive Producer and Director Curt Wollan said in a release. Damon was one of three North Dakotans to join the cast.

“…The talent was at an all-time high,” Wollan said. “It was particularly impressive to see so many first time auditionees from North Dakota who were so well prepared.”

At some point, Damon aspires to teach music education either in the grades or college level.

“As a teacher, it’s important to get performance background,” he said.

During auditions, he was asked to sing two songs and dance a choreographed routine. He thought his diverse experiences on stage played a role in being selected.

Damon has studied voice, dance and theater since enrolling at DSU.

“Damon is a true triple threat — he can sing, he can act and he can dance,” DSU dance instructor Pattie Carr said. “He’s disciplined and he’s absorbed everything we all teach him — he’s like a sponge.”

The Medora Musical is a true professional experience, expecting its performers to entertain night after night, she said.

“You have to be disciplined, you have to dig deep,” she said. “He will learn if that’s what he wants to do for the rest of his life. It will teach him what it takes to be a professional.”

Damon credits his dancing ability to the DSU dance program and performances with the DSU Form and Fusion Co.

Damon has played the trombone since fifth grade and started singing his junior year in high school.

“I don’t think I was very good in high school,” he said. “I really urge people to try music, even if they think it’s too late, because you can improve.”

Damon said he listens to a variety of genres of music, but dials in a country channel while on the road.

He traces his theater experience to junior high and high school. He was recently in the stage plays, “Funny Money” and “Scrooge.”

“I found it was a good way to express myself and a way to relax,” he said. “When I perform, it makes me happy.”

Damon describes himself as a realistic, goal-driven person.

“I try to make sure everything is going to work, but I have big dreams,” he said. “I try to make them as realistic as possible.”

Damon’s resume covers a multitude of other activities. He is treasurer of the DSU chapter of the National Association of Music Education, a mentor with the Best Friends Program and a member of the DSU University Players.

Two summers ago, he worked at CountryHouse, when he considered pursuing a career in the medical field.

“I loved it,” he said. “Actually, I integrated my performing by playing piano and singing for them,” he said.

Last summer, he worked with the Brownville, Neb., Village Theatre, a summer company.

“We worked 10-plus hours every day and I think it was a really good experience,” he said.

He will finish classes at DSU a few days early, when he packs his luggage and heads to Minneapolis for rehearsals in May.

“This summer, I think I will really discover a lot about who I am as a performer and if it’s something I want to continue doing with my life,” he said.