The journey began a year ago when the Annie Moses Band performed at Crossroad Community Church; the church where Delmarva Christian High School senior Erica Apgar is a member.

The journey began a year ago when the Annie Moses Band performed at Crossroad Community Church; the church where Delmarva Christian High School senior Erica Apgar is a member.

“They told us about a two-week camp they run called the Fine Arts Summer Academy,” Apgar said. “I knew immediately that I wanted to attend but I had to send in an application and an audition tape before I could be considered and accepted.”

In July, less than a year after making application, Apgar found herself on a plane headed for Nashville, Tenn. Little did she know she was about to embark in the southeast’s leading pop/classical arts program and one of the largest education arts events in Music City.

Apgar was among over 200 aspiring young artists from around the world who would be studying with classically trained teachers from some of the major arts conservatories and universities including Julliard School in Manhattan, Berklee School of Music and Cincinnati Conservatory.

“What was really amazing happened the night before my plane ride,” Apgar said. “I received an email that I was selected to audition for a solo, and that auditions would happen the day I arrived in Nashville. I had to quickly learn and familiarize myself with a selection of songs. My whole plane ride consisted of listening to Stevie Wonder, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Jewel and Johnny Cash.”

Once she arrived, Apgar said she was overwhelmed by the talent of the other 20 students who were also chosen for solo auditions.

“I thought I had no chance of getting anything," she said. "What was even more intimidating was that the audition was in front of a room filled with Annie Moses Band members and all the camp instructors. Then, I was really shocked when I got a call two days later saying they wanted me to do a second audition on the spot.”

Apgar said the first week was very stressful, yet also enjoyable, as she had to memorize choir songs, harmonies, ensembles, solo pieces and choreography. She also attended a couple of voice lessons, a vocal technique class, a vocal master class and a songwriting class.

By the second week, Apgar was also busy making friends and preparing for the final Gala Performance to be held at the Grand Ole Opry.

“I was so excited when the day of the Gala came,” she said. “I got to dress up real fancy and spend an entire day backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. I even got a huge dressing room! It was crazy walking up to perform on a stage where many famous people have stood such as Elvis Presley, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.”

As exciting as the entire experience was for Apgar, she said the greatest opportunity for her was being able to express her testimony through music.

“The fact that God opened up the door for a group of talented musicians and singers to share His word in song on such a huge platform was phenomenal,” she said. “I know that God was honored that night and I am very thankful to have had just a small part in something so big.”

Following the Gala, Apgar performed in the Academy’s two-day Showcase where she performed her ensembles and sang a solo in “Precious Lord Take My Hand,” sang alto in “Nearer My God To Thee,” and sang second soprano in “Old Atlanta.”

“FASA was a true blessing and a growing experience that I’ll always treasure,” she said. “It is my prayer that I will be able to go back one year.”

Apgar is a senior at Delmarva Christian High School and is a leader of the school’s Praise and Worship team.