July 05--When fifth grade teachers at Destin Middle School ask "What did you do this summer?" 10-year-old Sofie Hagle will have an A+ answer.
Sofie landed the role of the young Cosette in the NWFSC production of Les Miserables, and makes her debut in the production on July 17 -- her grandmother's birthday.
As a special treat, her grandmother, Marcie Nagel, will be in the audience with friends, along with Sofie's parents Lori and Terry Hagle. Sisters Haley, a graphic artist, and Chloe, member of the dance team at the Collegiate High School, will attend a later performance.
"I am excited that Sofie got the part," Lori told The Log. "However, I sometimes get very anxious when I think about her performing alone on stage. That is a lot of pressure for a child. I must say that I get more nervous than Sofie when she performs."
For two years, Sofie has taken voice and piano lessons every week from Walton County resident and performer, Phyllis Hasty.
"I enjoy learning new songs during lessons, and especially performing for the recital at the end of each school year," Sofie told The Log.
Hasty told The Log that with her beautiful voice, stage presence and love of performing, Sofie would do an excellent job in the role of Cosette.
"Sofie is one of the most gifted young singers I've ever taught," Hasty said. "She has a beautiful clear voice with great natural pitch, and possesses musical ability beyond her young age. I am so proud of her -- she is a joy to teach."
Sofie is no stranger to performing in front of others.
Two years ago she sang the hymn "Solid Rock" to open the Destin to Shine contest at the HarborWalk Village pavilion. She has also performed for residents at Destin Rehab, something she wants to do again.
At the request of Destin Elementary School principal Marti Gardner, Sofie sang the National Anthem for a Rotary Club meeting and also over the intercom at school.
"I felt scared before I sang it, because most people can't sing it," Sofie said. "But during and afterward, people complimented me, and I felt confident. I didn't mess up."
Sofie also sang the National Anthem for a military promotion ceremony at the Air Force Armament Museum.
"She actually got paid for this performance, which was a special thrill,"Lori said.
Although auditions can be a scary event for performers, especially young ones, Sofie's nerves soon settled.
"When I started singing, I felt confident and really enjoyed the experience," Sofie said. "I was thrilled to be awarded the part of 'little Cosette,' especially since this role involves singing a solo alone on stage."
As Cosette, Sofie portrays a waif-like little girl who has been turned into a domestic slave by her guardians after the death of her mother. In her solo, "Castle on a Cloud,"Cosette sings about a better life -- a castle where she does not have to sweep floors and where a lady all in white looks after her.
Sofie rehearses twice a week for Les Mis, but as the opening nears that may increase to four nights a week to run through the entire production.
"The hardest part of rehearsals is when they do the vocal warm-ups," Sofie said. "The cast has to do physical movements and exercises while singing, and this is very difficult. But I love going to rehearsals and will be sad when the production ends. I have enjoyed getting to know the other cast members and have become friends with the other children."
Another goal of Sofie's is to sing at Rock the Docks at HarborWalk, where audience members participate karaoke style with local entertainers Deja Vu.
"We haven't made it down there on a Saturday night yet, but it could still happen."
Could Sofie have stardom in her future and her name in lights?
"I would love to have a career in music, but I am also interested in becoming a kindergarten teacher."
(c)2013 The Destin Log (Destin, Fla.)
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