She’s a Dakota Star

HURON — It was, to say the least, a busy weekend for Sylvia Kattner.
On Sept. 1 - Saturday - she and her Huron High School Cheer and Dance teammates traveled to compete at the Pierre Invitational.
On Sunday, she grabbed her guitar and headed to the S.D. State Fairgrounds, where she was the opening act at the 11 a.m., Sherwin Linton Show, on the AARP Centennial Stage.
Then, after a brief rest, she headed to the Northwest Energy Stage, for the preliminary round of the Dakota Star Talent contest. She did well enough in the prelims, to qualify for the finals the next night.
So, on Monday, she again grabbed her six-string and headed to the fairgrounds. Later that evening, she was crowned the winner in the Junior category at Dakota Star.
On Tuesday, Kattner, the daughter of Kristi and Linc Kattner, began her senior year at Huron High School. But she likely relished a day filled with classes, chorus and band practice and then cheer and dance rehearsal.
To win the title, Kattner sang an original Christian Contemporary song, titled “Be the Light,” a song with a nod to a particular verse in the gospel of Matthew. More on the Bible verse later.
“Yes, just me on a stool with a microphone and my guitar,” Kattner said last weekend as she enjoyed a rare bit of down time in a busy senior year.
It was the same type of setup for her 15-minute on stage prior to the Sherwin Linton show, where she performed the same song, as well as some other original compositions.
“Every year my grandmother encourages me to audition for the Sherwin Linton show,” Kattner said. “They are always looking for opening acts, so this year I recorded a CD with some of the songs I have written, along with some cover songs and sent it in.”
For many, being alone on stage with only a guitar and a microphone would be cause for alarm. Not so for the 17-year-old Kattner, who has been singing as long as she can remember.
“My entire family is musical,” she said. “It’s kind of what I grew up with, singing with my family. It’s what we do.”
If you’re not convinced, she has the award she won in 2008, when she was the Youth Dakota Star winner. So now, she has won two of the three age groups. This year was her final year competing as a Junior. So, will she be looking to add to her Dakota Star legacy next year?
“Maybe,” she said.
She can’t look that far ahead, as she has a full senior year of singing in the high school chorus and in church, playing alto sax in the HHS concert and pep bands, and that is after the marching band season ends. She’s a member of that group as well, where she is a co-drum major.
Then she intends to continue her education at South Dakota State University, so next fall she’ll be preparing to begin her freshman year as a Jackrabbit, so finding her way back to the Dakota Star stage may be difficult.
But never say never.
She expects to major in music in Brookings, with her sights set on becoming a Contemporary Christian songwriter and performing artist. She’ll get a helping hand in the pursuit, as she intends to use at least part of her $250 prize for winning Dakota Star on a new microphone.
“I’d like to work on recording music and starting a YouTube channel so I can share what I am creating,” she said. Her inspiration comes in the form of that verse from Matthew.
“I have always liked that verse,” she said, “it’s the ‘let your light shine,’ verse, which is inspiring to me.”
Recently, her mom and her other grandma redecorated her room, and incorporated the verse into a wall decoration.
“I was in my room just kind of playing the guitar and thinking of words for a song when I looked up at the verse,” she said. “It had never really dawned on me before, but it’s Matthew 5:16 and my birthday is May 16.”
With her birthday interlocked with her inspiration and a clear - if busy - vision of her future before her, it would be wise to place a wager on her adding the third jewel to her Dakota Star crown.

Huron High School senior Sylvia Kattner performs prior to one of the Sherwin Linton shows during the S.D. State Fair earlier this month.

Next, Kattner won the Youth division of the Dakota Star competition at the Fair when she was seven years old, a feat she duplicated with a win in the Junior Division this year.


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