By ANGIE CARNATHAN
Beth Sewell said her daughter, Sarah Beth, started singing publicly in church at age 4, but she couldn’t quite articulate what she was actually doing.
“She couldn’t pronounce the word ‘sanctuary,’ so when she started singing at church, she told people she was singing at the ‘cemetery’ on Sunday,” Beth Sewell said.
Sarah Beth will again sing in a sanctuary this Sunday –– not a cemetery –– to showcase her talents as a soprano. She will present a vocal recital at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church in Starkville.
Beth Sewell said she is very proud of her daughter and her talent, although she jokingly mentions an occasional drawback.
“If you go on a long trip with Sarah Beth, just know that there is going to be a lot of singing in the car all the way there and back,” Beth Sewell said.
Sarah Beth Sewell said music has always been a family affair.
“Music is really a three-generational thing in my family –– my first memories of singing are with my grandmother sitting in her lap at the piano,” Sarah Beth Sewell said. “It was always fun.”
Sarah Beth Sewell won her first singing competition at eight. Her mother said she woke with a terrible fever the morning of the competition.
“I had strep throat,” Sara Beth Sewell said. “But I wanted to perform, so I went, and I ended up winning. It was the State Fair Vocal Competition in Jackson.”
Still behaving as a consummate professional at the age of 16, Sarah Beth Sewell said she enjoys performing publicly and sharing her talent with others.
“I enjoy finding emotions in the songs,” Sarah Beth Sewell said. “I also like to find songs that go along with my life and tell the story of the song. I enjoy getting to sing from my heart.”
Sarah Beth Sewell said she feels she has been blessed with a special gift –– one that she plans to make a career of one day.
“At first I had wanted to go to New York and be on Broadway, but now I know the importance of studying music and getting a good education so that I can perform and also teach music and singing,” Sarah Beth Sewell said.
Sarah Beth Sewell said her dream role would be to play Christine in “Phantom of the Opera.” She is a fan of traditional musicals like “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific,” “Music Man” and “The Sound of Music.” She knows to get there she that she must be disciplined and work on her voice daily.
“I do some type of practicing and singing every day,” Sarah Beth Sewell said. “Sometimes it is singing in the car, at a rehearsal for the church choir or symphony chorus, at school or in a voice lesson.”
It’s hard work, Sarah Beth Sewell said, but the advice she would give to a young person pursuing the same dream would be to value the encouragement of others.
“A positive attitude makes it easier, too,” Sarah Beth Sewell said. “It is also very important to have a good teacher.”
Although Sarah Beth Sewell said she doesn’t get nervous often, when she does, she has a special trick.
“I eat a banana and drink a glass of water,” Sarah Beth Sewell said. “I’m not sure why it calms me down, but it does. Once I hear the music start, I’m fine. I just want to do my very best.”
Sarah Beth Sewell said she is grateful for the gift she’s been given, and knows that her talent couldn’t have made it this far without the help of people around her.
“I would like to thank my family, Rebecca Wascoe, Ted Beverly, Winona Costello, my church and especially God for giving me my talent,” Sarah Beth Sewell said.