4-time finalist returns to Morristown Onstage

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in News

4-time finalist returns to Morristown Onstage

4-time finalist returns to Morristown Onstage

4-time finalist returns to Morristown Onstage

This is the 11th in a series of profiles highlighting the finalists of Morristown Onstage, to be held March 1 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

MORRISTOWN – A four-time finalist will return to the Mayo Performing Arts Center stage this March for another performance.

“Each time I have found an opportunity to grow closer to Morristown’s community of artists and connected with an array of wonderful, talented individuals,” said Dani Dones, 22. He will perform a cover of “Gone” by Lianne La Havas, singing and playing piano.

“I think that the lyrics of this song very beautifully convey the nuances of self-doubt, pain, and growth as they relate to love and attachment,” said Dones, who performed the song for several years with his college a cappella group, the Vassar Devils.

“I have always felt a strong emotional attachment to the ways in which the song has helped me to narrate and contextualize some of the difficult interpersonal experiences that I have struggled through in the past,” she said. “Each time I perform ‘Gone’ I feel as though I am sharing a part of my own story and seeing it through to closure.”

Dones said he has been immersed in music his entire life and started singing professionally in college.
“A cappella opened me up to many amazing opportunities in college,” Dones said. “Including a performance for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House during their 2015 Executive Office of the President holiday party.”

Dones graduated from Vassar College last year and returned to Morristown, where he was a Class of 2012 alum of the high school. He currently works at the Stirling Tavern on South Street and as a clerk at the Imaging Center at Morristown.

“I witness our community come together a lot in Morristown, and I think that is quite a particular and heartwarming characteristic of this area,” Dones said. “Sure, I have seen its failures and shortcomings as well, but for every issue I have with Morristown there are about 10 things I love about having grown up here, and I think a lot of that is thanks to the amazing people I have met here.”

Leading up to the show, Dones said he plans to keep his mind and body healthy.

“Sometimes that means relaxing, sometimes it means working hard and rehearsing, and other times it means forgiving myself when I am unable to rehearse,” Dones said. “I try to remember the importance of being tender and kind to myself and others.”

Should he win, Dones plans to use the money to save for the future, stabilizing his income and allowing himself to dedicate more time to his artistic pursuits.

“Winning would definitely represent a lot to me as a grandchild of immigrants and as a child of parents who worked very hard as children in the South Bronx and sacrificed a lot throughout their lives to afford me the opportunities that I have today,” Done said. “I also very much hope to represent and encourage other young LGBTQ artists of color who, like me, didn’t really grow up with many examples of who we can become and what we can achieve.”

Following the show, Dones plans to continue building a musical repertoire so he can accept more gigs. He also has big plans for the future, looking to move in with his boyfriend and find a job that suits his college degree and dedication to human rights and collective liberation work.

Staff Writer Michael Izzo: 973-428-6636; mizzo@GannettNJ.com

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