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Lowville native Nicole Johndrow coming home Saturday to sing

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LOWVILLE — “It’s really the story of ‘small town girl makes it big in the city’,” said Penny Jay, music department chairperson at Lowville Academy and Central School.

She was referring to her former student and 1995 graduate Nicole Johndrow, who will return to her hometown of Lowville, having recently wrapped up her solo cabaret debut in New York City.

Mrs. Jay recalled Miss Johndrow’s many starring roles in high school musicals.

“She was an outstanding musician” she said. “She had that talent you just knew she was going to do something with it in the real world.”

Mrs. Jay’s predictions were right. Miss Johndrow’s resume includes separate reigns as both Miss Thousand Islands, Miss Lewis County and third runner-up in the Miss New York State Pageant. Since studying musical theater at Emerson College in Boston, she’s gone on to earn roles in the National Tour of “Cats” (Jellylorum/Grizabella) and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” opposite Sally Struthers.

This Saturday she’ll be performing an eclectic mix of songs in the Blue Room at the Lewis County Historical Society as part of its Black River Valley Concert Series, just two blocks from the high school stage where her career began.

She will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Lewis County Historical Society, 7552 South State St. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at the historical society. Call 376-8957 for more information.

“It’s exciting for Lewis County to have her return to perform,” said Mrs. Jay.

It’s not the first time Miss Johndrow has returned to wow the crowd with her voice. In 2008, she sang at Lowville Academy’s bicentennial celebration.

Miss Johndrow, the daughter of Jacqueline and Michael Johndrow, recalled that 25 years ago, when at the 175th school anniversary, she recited the Pledge of Allegiance during the ceremony.

“It was a really special experience,” Miss Johndrow said of having been part of both celebrations.

She visits Lowville about twice a year, as she still has family in the area.

“It was an honor just to be asked,” she said of the invitation to perform at the historical society.

Perhaps it won’t draw as large of an audience as her performances in New York City, but she admitted she’s a bit nervous.

“It’s more nerve-racking, really, “ she said. “You definitely want to give it your all. These people know your family. They know your roots.”

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