By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Bringing joy to others through music. That is the goal for 20-year-old Anelise Diamond Merrihew. She has shared her voice by performing a variety of songs during her quarantine music sessions on Facetime throughout the pandemic. She has missed seeing friends and being able to go places. The sessions have helped her feel close to others and have made many people smile during uncertain and dark times.
Anelise attends Algonquin Regional High School’s (ARHS) Community Access Program, a post-graduate program for students ages 18-22 with special abilities and learning differences. It is designed to provide the training necessary for successful supported employment and independent living.
She has loved to sing for as long as she can remember. She has always been surrounded by music and signing. Her mother Lori Diamond and Diamond’s music and life partner Fred Abatelli are professional singers and musicians with their band Fate’s Landing.
Fans from all over the world
The quarantine sessions were done on a whim as an effort for Diamond to offer Anelise enrichment. Anelise, Diamond and Abatelli all perform and the feedback has been amazing.
“We were all surprised at the reactions,” Anelise said. “Our first video of ‘What a Wonderful Life’ has over 11 million views! I have gotten really nice notes from people all over the world saying how happy they are when they see me singing. I even have new friends and pen pals.”
Sharing her love of music with others
She is no stranger for doing amazing things. She was instrumental in forming the ARHS Unified Singing Club in 2017.
“I didn’t think it was fair that my school didn’t have any music clubs that didn’t have auditions needed,” she said. “I wanted to change that and thought everyone should be included just because they love music.”
The Club has met weekly through the shutdowns and have continued to do so via Zoom to keep social and keep singing.
Anelise sings with the Northborough Area Community Chorus, which has an upcoming virtual concert scheduled for the spring. She will be a part of the opening act for Catie Curtis on Saturday, March 20 for a virtual concert, along with Diamond and Abatelli. She will also be a special guest at a live outdoor concert at Douglas Orchard on Saturday, July 31 with Fate’s Landing.
Although she enjoys percussion and is learning to play piano, she said that her “voice is my main instrument.”
She enjoys a wide variety of music genres and performers, like Adele, Alison Krauss, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton.
“I really like strong and unique voices,” Anelise said.
When she is not singing, she loves crafts, cooking, being with friends, trying new kinds of food, meeting new people and exploring new places. She participates in the DECA club and serves as a Best Buddies officer at school.
Anelise will continue to share her music with the world to brighten people’s day.
Her motto is to “keep following your dreams, enjoy each moment, do what you love and follow your passion.”