Logan City’s Independence Day celebration features local talent

As a little girl, Holly Fjelsted learned what it was like to be proud to be an American. The pride she found came from yearly family trips to Logan City’s Independence Day Celebration. Now, with kids of her own, Fjelsted is the committee chair for the Firework Celebration; getting sponsors, working with the city, even writing the script for the evening. Even with all her responsibilities, Fjeldsted still has time to go to community events and search for undiscovered artists waiting for their shot at stardom. What she found was phenomenal talent right here in our own valley. One of the most impressive performances came from Logan High’s Student Body President, 17-year old Hillary Dodd. “She was one of the leads in their high school production of Grease. She was Sandy,” Fjeldsted says, “and that’s how we kinda found out about her.” A member of Logan’s prestigious Crimson Colony, Dodd has landed such roles as Beth in Jay Richard’s “Little Women”, Sharpeé in “High School Musical” at the Ellen Eccles Theatre, and several leads for Logan High’s theater department. She is also a varsity member of Logan’s Soccer and Basketball teams Hailing from Mountain Crest High School, Junior Marisa Neilson was found while giving away her title as Miss Cache Valley’s Outstanding Teen. “I went to the pageant where Marisa was performing and she just had a voice straight from heaven,” said Fjelsted. “I knew she’d be great.” Nielson, only 16, is heavily involved with Volleyball and Track and sings the anthem for sports games around the valley. This October, Nielson will be competing at Miss Utah’s Outstanding Teen and is expected to do well. “She has one of those voices you hear on the Disney movies!” Fjelsted raves.Ryan Bleu, the singing sensation of the Logan Police Force will also be joining Dodd and Nielson. Bleu was relatively unknown until he entered a singing competition where he was pitted against singers all across Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. He beat out all his competitors and recently got back from cutting his first CD, produced in Nashville, Tennessee, the music capitol of the world. He’ll be performing his own songs, bringing country flair to the event.And, last but not least is a valley favorite, Lightwood Duo. Band members Eric Nelson and Mike Christiansen are sure to put on a show with their lifelong experience on the clarinet and guitar. Each a very accomplished musician, they combine the two instruments to make a sound totally unlike any other. Nelson, a band teacher for Spring Creek Middle School, has inspired many young kids to take up an instrument as he makes music fun for all his students. “He really made me want to play,” says one of his former students. Nelson has performed with the Utah Symphony and Ballet West Orchestra, to name a few. He holds a BA in Music Education. Since 1977 Mike Christiansen has headed Utah State University’s guitar program and now, 32 years later, has built the program into one of the largest, most diverse guitar programs in the country. He is in high demand for his expertise across North America. The duo has produced five CDs, all of which are frequently aired on the radio and have been met with critical acclaim. Even though the main attraction of the night will be the fireworks, all four gifted acts will leave you amazed. “And that’s just the musical talent!” Fjeldsted proclaimed. “We’re going to have so much more entertainment!”After the singers and Lightwood Duo, the Garland-based Dance Factory will do a patriotic number. There will also be a flyby directed by Hill Air Force Base. Joining them will be the Civil Air Force Patrol Drill Team where a handful of elite high school students will show off their firearm skills. They are so talented; in fact, they recently won a large regional drill competition. “They’re going to be competing at the national level next week so we wanna kinda send them off with a real vote of confidence,” Fjeldsted said.Whatever your reason to come to the stadium this Friday, it’s a fact you’ll leave the event feeling more patriotic and awed then before. “You know, it’s that one day of the year that we can say America is the greatest place on Earth,” Fjeldsted said. “So come on in. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.”

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