Victoria Livengood | Opera's Dixie Diva
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Opera star gives to children

July 25, 2013 - Baptist Children's Homes

By J.Blake Ragsdale

She may be an international opera star, but Thomasville native Victoria Livengood is still a southern belle at heart. Growing up on a farm and raised in a family of musicians, the Grammy-nominated performer has never shied away from her roots. She is often times referred to as the "Dixie Diva."

"My family says I've been singing and dancing and wearing fancy outfits since I could walk," Livengood laughs. "They say I've been a diva since birth."

Livengood returns home to perform at Hope in Style, a children's fashion show that benefits children at Mills Home in Thomasville. It's a place that's very familiar to the 53-year-old singer.

"Being a part of Hope in Style is coming full circle for me," Livengood says. "I'm able to come back home and use my talents to benefit the children at this wonderful place where I once worked. Being at Mills Home was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling times of my life."

In 1985, Livengood received her big break at age 25 by winning New York's Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A few years earlier, Livengood used those same musical talents to help the boys and girls at Mills Home where she spent two years serving as the interim minister of music at the campus church.

"For personal reasons, I was taking a break from my studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and moved back to Thomasville with my family," Livengood explains. "It was during those two years I was somehow led to this position at the church. I worked with the children and formed a children's choir."

Livengood was a perfect fit for the position. She grew up with a gospel music background and traveled with her family singing as a quartet in churches. The first place she ever sang was First Baptist Church in Thomasville. She considers herself a crossover artist and remains passionate about her gospel background.

"I believe becoming an opera singer was God's plan; I don't take any credit for it," Livengood says. "I look back at my two years at Mills Home and realize that it gave me incredible experience and maturity. It was a part of what helped me succeed so early in life."

As the featured entertainer for Hope in Style, Livengood is participating in an event whose main purpose is to help children be successful in life. Proceeds generated from Hope in Style will go towards meeting the daily needs of the children living at Mills Home - helping them overcome their past hurts, and preparing them for a hopeful future.

"Performing at Hope in Style is what my family calls a 'God thing,'" Livengood says. "The children I worked with at Mills Home gave me love. Their love and laughter inspired me to go back to school and not give up on my dreams. While I was inspiring them, they were giving inspiration back to me."

Hope in Style takes place on Saturday, August 24, 2013 at the Greensboro Country Club. The event features a children's fashion show, a silent auction, brunch, and musical entertainment by Livengood.

To learn how you can be a part, call BCH's Karen Slate at 1.800.476.3669 ext. 1211 or email her at kslate@bchfamily.org.

VISIT WWW.HOPEINSTYLE.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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