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Healy musician finds calling with performance arts group

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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:13 am | Updated: 12:07 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

DENALI — Zach Dixon was in the right place at the right time.

While visiting a friend in California, he got talked into auditioning for Young Americans, a group of talented young people who perform around the world. Now, he finds himself heading out on tour in January and attending the College of the Performing Arts.

It surprised him more than anyone else.

The 22-year-old from Healy was on the road after working at Denali National Park all summer.

“This was just one of my stops,” he said by phone from California. “I wanted to visit Jack (Reeves) and see what he was up to.”

Reeves was accepted as a Young American last spring after performing with Motion Sensors Dance Troupe at Dance Excellence 2012. Reeves debuts as a Young American in the “New Kid Show” today.

Dixon’s first night with his friend, he hung out with Reeves and other Young Americans.

“We got around to playing guitar and singing songs, and they all said, ‘You should audition.’

“I don’t usually do this kind of thing,” Dixon said. “But why not.”

Now he finds his life suddenly changed.

He will attend the College of the Performing Arts in the Los Angeles area and go on tour in January. They just happened to be looking for more young men, ages 18-25.

Of course, this means he has to figure out how to pay tuition.

He’s confident it will all work out.

“If I were to go to school, this would be exactly what I would want to do,” he said.

Dixon never participated in music or dance in high school.

“I think my last music class was in elementary school,” he said. He graduated from Tri-Valley School in 2008.

Then one day, he picked up a guitar, learned how to play and started jamming with friends Bradley Lewis, Noah Schieber and Jack Reeves.

He didn’t play with those friends in high school, he said, because he was “not band worthy.”

He kept practicing and found he really enjoyed making music.

“It was really fun,” he said. “We all liked each other a lot, and we were having a lot of fun together.”

They formed The Young Bohemians and played gigs locally last summer.

In 2010, he traveled overseas and spent three months working on an organic farm in France with the volunteer WOOF organization.

He really didn’t know what he wanted to do, so he wandered.

“All I really knew was that I love to play music,” he said. “If I had a choice, that’s what I would do.”

Now, he will be immersed in it.

He might even end up having to do a little dancing.

“It’s a little out of my comfort zone,” he said. “But that’s what makes it a little more exciting. It’s healthy to do things out of your comfort zone.”

Artisan’s Courtyard owner Sheri Martin, longtime Young American supporter in Fairbanks pointed out, “It’s not whether they can sing or dance. It’s what’s in their hearts.”

Cantwell fair

The Cantwell Christmas Craft Fair will be held at the Broad Pass Café, next to the gas station, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 8.

Call Jennifer at 322-0474 to reserve a table or space.

Extreme adventures

Troy Henkels is kind of like Superman.

He is a quiet, friendly fellow who works for the Matanuska telephone company as his day job.

When he is not being a phone technician, he is an international extreme adventurer.

Finally, he has compiled all those adventures into one book: “Life on the Edge — Extreme Adventures of Troy Henkels.”

He moved here from Dubuque, Iowa, 20 years ago, seeking a more adventurous lifestyle. He found it.

His expeditions have taken him all over the world, and I have written about them periodically. He owns a home in the Denali area.

The book’s cover photo was taken by another former Denali resident, photographer Laurant Dick.

Bank pies

Today is Pie Day at First National Bank Alaska in Healy.

Visit the bank and enjoy a pre-Thanksgiving treat at this annual event.

New websites

There is a new Tri-Valley Activities and Sports Web page, intended to be one-stop shopping for information and communication. Check it out at

There’s also a new Web page for the Denali Borough School District counselor. Juniors and seniors and their parents will find this handy:

Lost and found

If you lost something at the Denali National Park quarter launch ceremony at the Tri-Valley Community Center last week, you can claim it at First National Bank Alaska, Healy.

Someone turned it in.

We don’t lock our car doors here and someone threw some items on the seat of a parked car. But it was not their car and the honest owner of the car, turned the items in as lost.

The bank doesn’t want to reveal what the items are, but if they belong to you, you can identify them.

Check with Julie Shorey at the bank.

Kris Capps is a freelance writer. Her column reporting Denali happenings appears weekly in the News-Miner. She can be reached at

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