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Musically Inclined

Rosey Lanning

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Rosey is one of the cast members in The Lion King, Jr!

When I was just starting at a new school in sixth grade, a talent that had been hidden underneath my shy yet very hard exoskeleton rose to the surface. Being only eleven years old and constantly moving from state to state and town to town, I kept to myself because I always just expected to be known as “the new girl.” I never made any friends because I knew they’d never last and I never did anything to support my school or play sports. I kept to myself. Finally, I found a hidden talent that I knew I had for a year or so, but I never thought it was significant enough to say anything about or to entertain the thought of.

Both of my parents had musical talents of their own. My dad played guitar, drums, and sang a little bit, and my mom was a singer. My dad never learned how to read sheet music for guitar, so he taught himself how to listen to a song and play along to it. After he’d play along to it a couple of times, he’d have my mom sing the song while he played along until he reached a point where he made a mistake. Then he would listen to the song again and then let my mom sing again while he played the guitar to it. Being two musically inclined people with nine kids, they figured that at least one of us had to have a little bit of natural musical talent. My brother, Areq, played the trumpet and was really good at it, but that was taught. They wanted to find out if any of us had a talent for singing, since none of us had the time to learn how to sing. They were so curious, they went as far as asking us to sit in the family room and sing to them. We were able to sing any song of our choice that we thought favored our voices.

After listening to three of my other siblings sing, they came along to Brach and I. Ever since I can remember, we were practically inseparable, so we decided we would sing together. We sang a song called “Bonse Aba,” which was a traditional Zambian folk song that we had learned in fourth grade. I thought that we were doing terribly because our parents looked at each other and just shook their heads and looked back at us with their mouths gaping wide open. I stopped singing, and once Brach had realized that I did, he did, too. He looked over at Mom and Dad and saw their expressions and looked at me, completely puzzled as to what to think. They both told us we did a very good job for a couple of eleven year olds. Brach was very shy when it came to singing around my parents. He loved to sing, but didn’t want my parents to entertain themselves with his talent, so he always kept it locked up unless he was at school around all of his friends. But I wasn’t shy when it came to singing around anyone. I sang loud and I sang proud. This eventually helped me because I started singing with my dad at church. One of our favorite songs to sing together was “Blessed Be Your Name.” He’d play guitar and harmonize with me, and I’d sing lead.

The first church service I sang with him, I was so nervous and shaky, but before I went on stage, he gave me a little pep talk. He told me that however I want to sing the song is completely up to me and that I could take it fast or slow and nobody would really care. He told me that even if I made a mistake, nobody would criticize me or question my talent. As I walked up on stage, two of my brothers and two of my sisters walked up to the front of the room directly in front of the stage and grabbed two streamers for each of them, one for each hand. I had no knowledge as to what they were doing.

As my dad started playing the guitar, my siblings started swaying back and forth and moving the streamers around to the rhythm. Once I started singing, they started dancing, synced together as if they were all robots and were programmed to do the same exact thing at the same exact time. I was distracted and sang the wrong verse and once I realized it, I started to panic so my voice got really shaky, but I just kept singing. And then my voice cracked and once my siblings realized it, Areq took the wrong steps while dancing to distract everyone from my own mistake. He bumped into Hailie, who fell over, and her streamers flew out of her hand. Finally, the song was over and when I came down from the stage. My brothers and sisters made it clear that they messed up on purpose because they were trying to prove that people aren’t perfect and it’s okay to make mistakes, even in front of a whole congregation of people that barely even know me.

That was when I realized the stage was for me. I realized that I wanted to be on stage and sing for people, even though I knew there was a chance of making a mistake. Since then, I have joined an elite choir at school called Select Choir. Only the best of the school gets into this choir. I have been in two musicals and am currently working on a third and I have also been in All County Choir and Show Choir for two years.

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Musically Inclined