Miriam Merriwether, caller, cuer, line dance leader, and instructor for the Sand Spurs Dance Club, has been singing since she was 4 years old. Coming from a musically gifted family, Miriam found her niche in music with her beautiful voice. While growing up in Fort Walton Beach she was onstage in several musicals at Choctawhatchee High School. While in school she began her formal vocal training, studying with Rebecca Richardson of Fort Walton Beach. Miriam was accepted into and received a scholarship for the music program at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida. Prior to entering the music program at JU she studied at the University of Sienna in Italy.
While studying in Italy, Miriam was honored to be the youngest singer chosen to perform an aria from the opera La Boheme and to sing Mozart’s “Exsultate, Jubilate”, a nearly 15 minute work for coloratura soprano. The experience was topped off by a vocal tour throughout Italy and Switzerland, all before her 18th birthday! Miriam returned to the United States, and although she was courted by a vocal professor from the University of New Mexico she decided to continue her opera and vocal performance studies in Jacksonville. She held the lead role in the musical Roberta in her first year at JU, and appeared as a contestant in the Stephen Foster Jeanie Ball & Auditions. Miriam went on to become church soloist for several churches in Jacksonville and later travelled as a music evangelist throughout the southeast.
Miriam appeared in numerous award winning shows with Stage Crafters Community Theater, in Fort Walton Beach. She also performed onstage as guest soloist with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and later had roles in “The Baker’s Wife” and in Steven Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” at Northwest Florida State College. Miriam honed her skills in community theater by not only performing onstage but by working in almost every job behind the scenes, including set construction, set design, costume design, lighting, assistant stage manager, stage manager, producer, choreographer, vocal director, music director, assistant director, and finally director. It was an honor for Miriam to assist local talent, Jim Lee, in scoring his musical, “Redneck Riviera” for voice and instruments, as well as being selected for the lead female role.
Miriam has been a vocal coach for over 25 years, teaching students from all walks of life. She has helped people who were told they were tone deaf learn to sing, and has prepared students for pageants, talent contests, and auditions.
Miriam first began square dancing and clogging as a teenager. Although, at first, she felt she wasn’t very good at dancing, she enjoyed square dancing so much she never forgot it. Because of her love for square dancing, as an adult she began square dance calling. To improve her skills she attended Callers’ College and callers’ seminars and continues to do so. She has set a personal goal to tell everyone she meets about square dance. Her love for dance has grown into teaching line dancing and cued ballroom dancing. Listening to feedback from others, she recognizes the need for less stressful learning and dancing. She has a strong desire to bring out the fun in the dance. As a result, she gets new dancers dancing right away and recognizes the need for repetition in the steps so that dancers can grow “muscle memory”. She likes to make every dance a party!