Last spring, Alice Dutoit was singing in the Sea Breeze choir at Brookings-Harbor High School.
This spring, the soprano is a finalist in the Belgium television program, “The Voice Belgique.”
And in every interview for the program, Alice mentions that her year as a Rotary Exchange Student in Brookings gave her the courage and confidence to compete in Belgium’s The Voice.
“Her father has told me she would never have been able to participate in such a contest had she not been an exchange student,” writes Danielle Baltus of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program in Belgium. “Thanks to all of you, because this success is partly due to you all, too.”
Alice — either busy or under a non-disclosure agreement with the show — has been mum since the show started.
She hasn’t even shared with her Brookings family — Tom and Lauri Ziemer. “She thought it was going to be a lark, and she was just doing it for fun,” Lauri says of a conversation before the broadcasts started.
“I don’t think she has any expectations; it’s just an adventure. She’s so like that, Lauri said.”
So, like the Rotarians who hosted Alice and her classmates at BHHS, the Ziemers can only wait for Facebook posts about the show every Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
In Sea Breeze last year — and playing piano in jazz band — BHHS music instructor Greg Goode has fond memories of Alice.
“She was amazing, a great kid — so much fun and so positive, he recalls. “I miss her.”
For those who follow the “Voice” format, Alice’s first performance on the show convinced two judges to turn around. She won a duel with two other women in last Tuesday’s episode.
“I was pleased and impressed,” said Goode after watching the YouTube video of the duel. “I can see why they picked her.”
“When she appeared before singing, she said that she was a Belgian girl, but that she was also an American girl of Oregon, where she had just lived for a year of exchange,” says Brigitte Henry, of the Rotary Youth Exchange program in Belgium.
“All the good Rotarians who saw the broadcast understood,” Henry said.
Meanwhile, Alice’s year in Brookings also convinced two students here to apply for Rotary Youth Exchange programs.
Addie Fitzgerald will be going on a short-term exchange in England this summer, and Karli Hall is preparing for a year-long exchange in Brazil beginning next fall.