One can only imagine what goes through the mind of a 13 year old girl on any given day. Now, plop her down in the middle of a room full of people several times her age, not to mention that some are musicians who have preceded, or will follow her on stage. Then, contemplate the fact that she has come to perform music she has written herself in front of this group, perhaps for the first time. This particular girl's name is Skye Trull. She showed up Friday Nov. 16th, 2012 for the last Showcase of the year.
As John Paul McNeil, the host of the Showcase announced her, I watched Skye walk tentatively to the piano and sit nervously flipping through the pages of a well worn spiral notebook that obviously held many of her creations, to find the piece she had chosen to play. Her voice was hesitant and choppy betraying her nervousness as I asked her to check her mic. I too felt nervous for her and was catapulted back to my own teen years and brought face to face momentarily with some still vivid experiences with stage fright. As she began her song the room grew still.
One of the beautiful things about the "Showcase of Original Music" is that the audience is there to listen and take in all the talent that is shared and therefore when the musicians perform, very often the crowd is silent, or close to it. Skye's meek speaking voice was instantly replaced by one that seemed much stronger and more at home singing. The song was heartfelt and structured in a way that made it clear that much time, emotion and thought had gone into its creation. As you might well imagine, there were what seemed to be some missed chords on the piano and ever so slight pauses that might have indicated that she had gotten off track, or had not played the song as she would have liked. Given the situation even more seasoned or experienced performers have had similar things happen. Still...she progressed, undaunted and found a poise and clearness of mind that allowed her to regroup and keep going, having remembered what had been forgotten or gotten past what had been played in error. Despite the many pairs of eyes and ears fixed steadily on her she concluded her song followed by rousing applause from the audience.
Skye scurried back to her seat, her notebook partially covering her face as if trying to hide, but without much success. The response prompted John Paul to ask her to play another song. I am sure many there, like me, expected her to say no, and probably shared my feeling of surprise when she almost readily agreed. I found myself smiling and rooting for this girl while at the same time being impressed by her bravery. And once again, though she seemed to hesitate a time or two in her piece, she pushed on through it somehow, transcending her nervousness, completing another song and for the second time in one night conquering fear. The audience clapped longer and louder, if that was even possible, while she hussled back to her seat, hiding once more behind her spiral notebook. I remember thinking she must have been both relieved to be done and possibly overwhelmed by the applause of a caring and appreciative audience. That she managed to keep her composure through the first song and finish it was an accomplishment in and of itself. The fact that she would put herself in the position of facing her fear again was a moment I will never forget.
Most of the time all the focus and talk is about the music. People listen and decide for themselves who was good or not based on the lyrics or melody or some other aspect of the songs a person shared. Skye's songs were good. She has a feel for playing piano, singing and writing music, so I hope she will continue practicing and improving her skills, thus discovering ALL the talent she may possess. Though her songs were good, it was her desire, courage and attitude that won her the applause and my admiration that night. Thank you Skye, for being an inspiration AND reminding me of what the Showcase is all about. Congratulations!