Hometown: Gulfport, Mississippi
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“I am honored to be given the Daniel Pearl Violin. I intend to use it to bring the world of amazing music to everyone I could possibly reach. I won’t stop until I have touched everyone I can. Music is my life, and I want to share it with the world.”
Gracie Hays, first picked up the violin at age 4. Ever since then, she’s been excelling in classical, bluegrass, fiddle, jazz, hip-hop, and other genres of music. A current sixteen-year-old junior at Gulfport High School in Gulfport, Mississippi, Gracie enjoys playing with the Gulf Coast Youth Symphony Orchestra, directed by Timothy Bergman, as the youngest concertmaster in its history. She has competed and won many fiddle and music contests, one of which included the honor of opening for Blake Shelton. Grace also enjoys singing and acting, and does both regularly in her wedding ensemble, “Wing and a Prayer” and the performing arts group she is a part of at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center called WINGS. Gracie has played in venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, and in the Beau Rivage Theatre.
Gracie has attended the Mark O’Connor Fiddle and String camps since 2007. Gracie said this about the camps: “At my first year of camp, I discovered what I could really make this wooden box with a few holes, strings, and some pegs do. I had no clue that the world of the violin could be so incredible. It was like I had stepped into a fantasy where every door was open to me. These camps truly made me fall in love with music. I would recommend them to anyone.”
Gracie is a founding member of String with Wings. Three years ago she travelled to the San Miguel Mission in Saltillo to launch the violin program for children. She believes that music can transcend poverty and cultural barriers. Gracie continues to raise funds to support this program. Gracie also studies with her teacher, George Mason.
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