Daniel Durden of Metter has been selected to tour with Clovers and Co. The performance team of Georgia 4-H, Clovers & Co. provides high energy shows for 4-H events, civic groups and state and national conventions.
A rising sophomore at Metter High School, Daniel auditioned for the performing group at Fortson 4-H Center last month. His two-minute performance was evaluated by a panel of five judges.
During his audition, Daniel had an opportunity to hear other vocalists audition as well, several of whom had very strong vocals. “I was kind of surprised that I was chosen,” Daniel said.
As part of Clovers & Co., Daniel and the rest of the team will perform during the upcoming school year throughout the State of Georgia. The tentative schedule includes the Georgia National Fair in Perry during October and singing the National Anthem at an Atlanta Braves game next summer.
Daniel, who plays guitar, said he never gave much thought to singing and certainly never thought he would enjoy singing in public. But he did like performing and has been a student of Pladd Dot Music School of Rock in Statesboro for several years. His parents, Dustin and Sherrie Durden, encouraged him to try singing publicly about three years ago, “and I ended up liking it a lot,” Daniel said.
The strenuous schedule for Clovers & Co. will have to be balanced with Daniel’s academic work and the School of Rock, but Daniel, who is an honor student, feels he is up to the challenge.
“I will mostly focus on school and then Clovers & Co. because there are more scholarship opportunities and there is more national coverage with this group,” he said.
His selection to Clovers & Co. has given Daniel what he calls “a newfound hope” that one day he can have a successful career in the music industry. His goal now is to earn a scholarship to Belmont University in Nashville, TN, to further his music career once he graduates high school.
“I would like to be a performer,” he said, “and (Belmont) has a very strong music program. A scholarship there would be great.”
Country music is Daniel’s genre of choice and Luke Combs is perhaps his favorite performer. But he is also a fan of George Strait and Randy Travis -- and those are the artists whose hits he included on a CD he recorded recently while in Nashville.
Daniel, whose cousin works at Black River Entertainment, was able to record the CD and gain invaluable experience in a recording studio. And he discovered something during the process. “I can see myself in a studio,” he said.
His CD also included a couple of family favorite songs written by his relatives, including “Three Wooden Crosses,” made famous by Randy Travis and written by Daniel’s “uncle,” Doug Johnson and Kim Williams.
But the “coolest thing” about the recording, Daniel said, was getting to sing along with a recording by his grandfather, the late Wendell Durden, to “Sweet Beulah Land.”
Daniel, who is active with the youth program at Cedar Street Baptist Church, also plays varsity tennis and just completed the one-year Youth Leadership Candler class.
Founded in 1981, a cast of 4-H age singers, dancers, instrumentalists, and stagehands participate in this outstanding performing arts opportunity to promote and share with others the excitement, leadership, and talent evident in 4-H. Several graduates have gone on to careers in the music and entertainment fields.