Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Schools

February 9, 2010

Fairview senior to sing for lawmakers

WESTWOOD —

Anytime, anyplace — Ask Rikki Nelson to sing and she’s ready to oblige.

Monday, for instance, huddled with a reporter and a photographer in an office at Fairview High School, Rikki offered an a capella verse of “God Bless America,” and then sang it again to make sure their recorder picked it up.

“It’s a degree of confidence you have to have (to be a performer), said Jeff Ware, Rikki’s band teacher and one of the faculty members who will accompany her to Frankfort next Tuesday when she is scheduled to sing for the members of the General Assembly.

Rikki caught the ear of state House majority floor leader Rocky Adkins, who attended a Veterans Day ceremony at Fairview High. That same day, Adkins told her history teacher she should come to Frankfort some time and sing for the senators and representatives.

Ware heard that and mentioned it to his wife Mary, who worked with Adkins. A couple of weeks and a few emails later, Adkins had made a formal invitation.

Rikki, a senior, will sing the number as arranged for the Fairview show choir, of which she is a three-year member. It’s the version Celine Dion sings, and Rikki has been rehearsing with the choir and at home. “It’s a very vocally challenging song,” she said.

It is clear that Rikki loves to sing, but she deflects compliments with an ever-present self-deprecatory humor. She’s been anxious, she said, about performing at the Capitol, but not because of the powerful and influential audience.

“It’s the first time I will ever sing in front of my mamaw,” she admitted. Her grandmother, Bessie Nelson, sings at church and was an early musical influence, she said. “Maybe that’s where I got my ability. No one else in the family sings.”

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