Songs Along the Way
Ondria Durocher is a Christian recording artist, from Salisbury, NC. Born in Paterson, NJ, Ondria was raised in a strong Christian home, heavily influenced by music. To say 'she came out of the womb singing' may be cliche, but it isn't far from the truth. Ondria remembers singing with her mother on tape, at the mere age of two. As a child, Ondria was very involved in music. She participated in several church pageants and was singing solos in church at a very young age. In grade school, she studied piano for two years. Ondria moved with her family to Gastonia, NC in October of 1992. Her father, Robert J. Durocher, Jr. took a position as Director of Parish Music at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Gastonia. Encouragement from family and friends motivated Ondria to keep singing, and her voice continued to blossom. As a student of Grier Jr. High School Gastonia, Ondria had the great pleasure of working with choral director, Rebecca Bumgardner. Under Bumgardner's direction, Ondria participated in several choral performances including: All County Chorus, All-State, Honors Chorus (where Ondria landed an audition-only solo), and went on to perform at Carnegie Hall, NY, NY in the National Youth Choir in 1997. In 1998, Ondria's father took a position was St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church as Director of Music Ministries, in Salisbury, NC. Ondria wasted no time sharing her voice with her new congregation. She was scheduled to sing in the chapel service and traditional sanctuary service almost immediately. She became involved with the St. John's Women's Ensemble, Sr. High Choir, and is now very much involved in singing with the Worship Team for St. John's contemporary service-Center Celebration. She has also sung for numerous weddings and special occasions. After graduating from West Rowan High School in 2001, Ondria went on to attend Lenoir-Rhyne College for two years, where she studied Creative Writing and Religion. In 2003, Ondria moved to Wilmington, NC, where she took a semester off from school, and then studied Business for one semester. 'I was never really sure what I wanted to do with my life. When I started college, I was so stubborn and rebellious. I still loved music, but at that point, had no interest in pursuing it as a career,' says Ondria, recalling her college days. In the late summer months of 2004, Ondria's mother, Leslie, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The news was devastating to the Durocher family, as well as the community. Just one month later, Ondria's grandmother, Alice, was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Two months before either one of them were diagnosed, Ondria kept getting a gut feeling to move back home. After the diagnoses, Ondria finally realized that God was telling her that she needed to go home to take care of her family. Although she was surrounded by love, and outpourings of kindness from her church family, Ondria remembers going through dark periods. 'I really struggled with my faith up until that point in my life. My faith is so strong now. I question nothing that seems to be out of my control, and pray- about everything. Prayer is so powerful.' Both Alice and Leslie are now in remission. In the late summer months of 2005, Ondria began expressing her love for God through songwriting. 'Songs Along the Way' was the first song she wrote, after her father suggested it as her album title. She recalls that upon hearing the title, words began to pour from her heart. 'I was at a restaurant, having lunch with my dad when he gave me the title. I had no pen, and no paper, but I had words in my head that kept playing over and over. I knew I would forget them if I didn't write them down. So, I grabbed my semi-used napkin and my eyeliner, and wrote the chorus right there in the restaurant.' 'I suddenly felt inspired to share my words with the world. I've always wanted to be a singer, and to record, but I never dreamed of being able to write and record my own songs. I've faced some hard times in my life, and I want others to know that no matter what may happen to us in life, God is with us every step of the way.' With the help of her father, Ondria began putting music to her words. Rob Durocher has arranged all of Ondria's songs, and her husband, Aleksandr (Sacha) N. I. Witt co-wrote 'Here We Are In Paradise' with her. 'My dad and Sacha are both so amazingly talented. My dad read the words to my songs and just sat down at the piano and started playing. I loved everything I heard and thought- this is it-these are my songs. I am so blessed to come from such a talented family. Everyone in my family sings- my dad, mom, my sister Britt, Sacha and both of my grandmothers. There's not a day that goes by that I don't thank the Lord for them, and for the amazing gift that He has given me. I have the opportunity to write and record music, and in sharing my music, I am ministering to others in sharing God's love. He's so amazing and I want others to know that!'