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Hazen native begins career with Medora Musical

Some people were born to teach. Others were born to be doctors.

Delanie Wiedrich said she was born to be a performer.

“It’s who I am,” she said. “I’m a performer by nature and it will always be a part of me.”

The 17-year-old from Hazen will start her professional career as a Burning Hills Singer in the Medora Musical.

“This is my first professional job,” she said. “This is my career. This is what I want to do with my life,” Delanie said. “So to be taking this first step is huge for me.”

The high school senior was one of more than 1,200 singers and dancers from across the country to try out for a coveted spot in the show, according to a release. With only 12 spots available, Wiedrich was one of three North Dakotans made the cut.

Building a musical resume

Being part of the Medora Musical is something the Hazen native has dreamed about since she was little, she said. Delanie has seen the musical every year since she was 5 years old. It was one of her first experiences with musical theater.

“It’s what first sparked my interest in the arts, to see these people up on stage in these amazing costumes and singing and dancing,” she said.

Her parents, Justine and Warren Wiedrich, always encouraged and supported Delanie, though Justine and her daughter agreed that the young star chose her own path.

“She’s always sung, and it seemed like it would be a natural fit,” Justine said. “We always used to say, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to see you up there some day?’”

Since then, Delanie joined anything that would help her prepare for a career in theater, including North Dakota Governor’s School, cheerleading, dancing, drama club and speech club.

She tried out for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in 2012, has sung for multiple celebrations and played Eponine in the Sleepy Hollow production of “Les Miserables” in Bismarck last summer. She was also selected to be Miss Dickinson in the spring.

A dream come true

Delanie first got the call about her audition in February. It came from Curt Wollman, executive producer and director of the Medora Musical.

“At first, I thought that Mr. Wollman was calling to inform me that I had not gotten the job,” Delanie said. “It wasn’t until I received the contract that I realized it was real. Now I get butterflies every time I think about what is to come this summer.”

The news that Delanie would be a part of the Medora Musical brought her to tears, shown in a Facebook post on her page. She will turn 18 when practice begins.

Though the audition went well, Delanie didn’t think she would be chosen to join the Burning Hills Singers.

“It was incredible, mostly because I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “Taking my age into consideration, my lack of professional experience, I really felt a bit like an underdog.”

‘What I was born to do’

Justine is proud of her daughter, adding she isn’t afraid to try anything.

“She was saying that every summer just keeps getting better and better,” Justin said. “Every summer, she gets to do something new and more fun.”

There are times when Delanie has questioned why she has tried to get into the performing arts.

“I think the biggest challenge for any performer is getting over that mental block,” she said. “There is always that little voice in your head that says, ‘You can’t do it. You’re from a small town in a small state. You can never make it.’”

But she never let those voices win. Her drive was being in front of a crowd of people, ready to see her shine in the spotlight.

Delanie plants to pursue a career in musical theater at Minnesota State University Mankato next fall, but hopes her time with the Burning Hills Singers will kick off a career that was meant to be a part of her life.

“Performing is who I am. It’s what I was born to do,” she said. “I’m just excited to see where this leads me.”

April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, as the news editor. She works with a team of talented journalists and editors, who strive to give the Grand Forks area the quality news readers deserve to know. Baumgarten grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.