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The Deal--Nita van der Walt's Ateljee Melodie is a Fredericksburg business providing instruction in voice, piano and music theory.

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Date published: 11/18/2009

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EDUCATION: I graduated in 1998 with distinction in opera from the Technikon of Pretoria. I also received my vocal performance diploma with honors from the University of South Africa.

FAMILY: My husband Ben-Johan, software engineer, and I moved to the U.S. from South Africa in June 2000. We have two children. My son, Adriaan, is 5 and my daughter, Isabel, is 2.

CAREER HISTORY: In South Africa I sang professionally as Blondchen in "Entfuhrung aus dem Serail"; Sophie in "Rosenkavalier"; Despina in "Cosi fan Tutti"; Monica in "The Medium"; Adele in "Die Fledermaus"; Kathie in "Student Prince"; Gilda in "Rigoletto"; and Christine in "Phantom of the Opera."

I also was a member of an elite opera ensemble (The Black ties) that toured all through South Africa. We performed in everything from full-blown productions to a tribute to the queen.

In the U.S., I've pursued my passion for music by sharing it through teaching piano and voice.

I also started to write and compose my own classical Christian music over that time. The CD has been a labor of love over the past two years and will be released Friday at Chancellor's Village Senior Living.

We moved to Fredericksburg 14 months ago.

In June I was a finalist in the prestigious Maryland Opera Society Voice Competition. It encompassed Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

I teach piano and voice at Roberson's music as well as at my home studio.

FIRST JOB: Waitress--summer job while in college.

WORST JOB: Real Estate Agent! (In South Africa.)

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? Pretoria, South Africa


HOW DID YOU END UP OWNING ATELJEE MELODIE ? (Ateljee is the Afrikaans word for "studio." Melodie is the Afrikaans word for "tune.")

In 2003 I started out being a "traveling teacher" teaching students piano and voice lessons at their homes. In 2004 we moved to Manassas, where I started to teach from my home and was blessed in a matter of months with 34 students. The studio grew from a couple of recitals a year to where we performed on regular basis different types of programs from different genres (classical, Celtic, sacred, musicals etc.)

I re-established my studio after moving to Fredericksburg last September and am delighted to say that I have 32 students.

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