Recalling how the evening of April 23, 2010 all came about is reflecting on a journey I always wanted to happen. Since my age is way past 9 years old, it's time to pass it to another much younger generation.
I am glad to be a performer, able to sing and play for people who probably have better things to do but sit and listen just because they like music. However entering the role of mentor to a young lady, my niece, has lead me down a path of supporting youth and seeing them do what seems at times impossible.
Alycen, my niece, has a talent. She may not know how talented she is (and that's fine) because she is only 9 years old and in the 3rd grade. But last Saturday night Alycen became the pride of Nickerson, Kansas and also the pride of her Aunt Pam.
Alycen performed the National Anthem in Wichita's Koch Arena to a packed house of concert attendee's at the Annual KFDI Listener Appreciation Concert. She opened the show for Josh Turner.... that's right... the Long Black Train guy with the deep distinctive voice! Also appearing was female recording artist Emily West.
I am a big fan of the Brian and Kellie Morning Show on KFDI and listen each morning on the way to work. I heard the ad about entering a contest where the winner would perform the National Anthem at their annual concert. Knowing that Alycen had performed the Anthem at local basketball games, State baseball tournaments, and Rodeos and adding to that her unique flair for performing, my mind began to wonder while driving. I knew she could do it. BUT this was a big venue, much larger than she had tackled in the past.
After a quick e-mail to Alycen's mom, it wasn't long before I had a call asking me which video to send in for the contest! YES! Alycen was going to be in the running! I think the radio station fell for her right from the start because they called her to come to the station to meet the crew there. She was given a tour, an interview, and also got to record herself singing in the recording booth. She had a great time meeting everyone and went on and on about how nice everyone there was!
Her radio interview ran early on a Monday morning, I was barely awake but heard the steady young voice of 9 year old Alycen answer questions with ease and perfection. She talked about her dancing and singing and how she was pretty used to it and also how she enjoyed it. (Aunt Pam was proud already.) It was an easy choice for the radio station, Alycen was the "Tween" they had been searching for to sing the National Anthem at their concert.
The days leading up to the performance went fast. The sold out concert, had family members scrambling to get tickets to see Alycen perform. Her mom ordered her new sparkly red dress online and made a trip to Shelper's for her new "cowgirl" boots. Mom made great choices! ....Her dad paid the bill! The boots were dressed up with rhinestones and her red dress and long blonde hair looked pristine on stage.
When she was introduced the crowd went wild. Her mom and dad, brothers Ben and Sam, and other family members and friends sat proud in their seats! Alycen performed with grace and composure, she smiled and waved to the audience at the end with the style of a great and humble showman. The crowd, who obviously loved her, went wild again!
After performing she was able to visit with Josh Turner, get photos taken with him and capture an autograph for future memories. That's big for a 9 year old.
It was a great night, a night to remember for our family for a long, long, time. Today she is back in her desk in the 3rd grade at Nickerson Elementary. Her classmates and teachers will hear stories but have no idea what a fun weekend she had performing to a packed house of 10,000 country music fans. Thanks Alycen for making the weekend so much fun. Aunt Pam is so proud of you! Until the next time.........