BROOKINGS, S.D. - Playing piano, singing and all the while encouraging an audience full of children to dance along with her is no small feat, but it's Leslie (Fischer) Dolby's chosen career and she loves it.
"I love seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids dancing at my shows," explains the singer, songwriter and owner of Rockin' Red Music. "I do it all for the kids and I get so much enjoyment out of it."
Dolby first got a taste performing before crowds as a 4-H Performing Arts Troupe member. As a middle and high school youth, she attended the annual 4-H Performing Arts camp where 4-H members from across the state come together to learn songs, lines and choreographed dance moves. They then spend the summer months traveling the state performing before crowds large and small.
"Those years in the Performing Arts Troupe helped shape my musical and theatrical career," Dolby says, of the experience which motivated her to pursue a Music Business degree from Anderson University.
She got her start in children's entertainment shortly after college, working as a member of the Do Re Let's Play band. When the band dissolved in 2016, Dolby didn't want to quit, so she created her own show - writing music, lyrics and developing fun, kid-friendly programming.
Today, she takes her Rockin' Red Music show on the road performing for children at fairs, libraries and community events across the Midwest.
But, Rockin' Red Music wasn't an overnight success. Launching a small business takes a lot of creativity, management and marketing.
Dolby says her years as a 4-H member participating in activities outside of the Performing Arts Troupe, like serving as a club officer, showing animals and maintaining an annual record book, helped her with the less dramatic side of her business.
"I remember the judges would provide feedback encouraging me to set goals for my projects that would challenge me to learn new skills and continue to develop myself for next year's project," she explains.
"Owning my own business takes a lot of hustling and the ability to be proactive and take the lead on getting things done. I am the only one to do the work and if I don't set my own goals and prioritize to achieve them, no one else will."
To view portions of Dolby's Rockin' Red Music show, link to her YouTube channel by visiting the Rockin' Red website. You can also listen to her music on all digital streaming platforms.
More about South Dakota 4-H
SDSU Extension's 4-H Youth Development Program is a partnership of federal (USDA), state (Land Grant University), and county resources through youth outreach activities of SDSU Extension. Youth learn and experience Leadership, Health and Wellness, Science and Ag-Vocacy through a network of professional staff and volunteers reaching more than 9,000 enrolled members with yearly programming efforts to an additional 35,000 youth participants.
To learn more, contact your local SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor.