Young Talent Creates Joyful Noises
Youth-filled music. What a great experience for performer and audience alike. Three Tahoma District students are reaping and harvesting the talents of their school, their parents and their extra-curricular music instruction.
Evan Stricker is a third grader at Glacier Park Elementary who was intrigued by the musical talent of Graeme Pennington, now a young college student. Graeme was drumming for the group “Joyful Noise” for which his mother is Praise Band director. Evan was about seven years old then and he decided to pick up the sticks. The first piece he eventually could play that caused personal excitement was 21 Guns, a song by American punk rock band, Green Day. His favorite adult performer is Neal Peart, primary lyricist and drummer for the rock band, Rush.
Evan takes drum lessons at Dace’s Rock ‘n More Music Academy, a non-profit music school in Maple Valley where he is drummer for a band called Shockwave. He performed for the first time “in front of an audience” at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church this year. “Yes, I was nervous,” he shared.
Describing the family history with music, Evan said, “It started with my grandma (since age six) on the piano, next my mom on the flute, and then my dad on the violin and guitar. Last of all my sister again on the piano and me on the drums.” Dad (David Stricker), Evan, and his sister all play together once or twice a week.
Stella, Evan’s older sister, is a Glacier Park fifth grader who takes rockology/piano practice at Dace’s Academy two days a week and plays in a band. The Academy provides private, group, and applied music lessons. She began singing to an audience with Joyful Noise and also has participated in two rockcitals with her band. The first piece that got her intrigued with piano was Unstoppable, a piece whose lyrics begin, “I’ll smile, I know what it takes to fool this town. I’ll do it ‘til the sun goes down.”
“I got interested in music when I was about age four because I loved to sing and I wanted to be a singer when I grew up,” she said. “Then at age seven, I started taking private piano lessons at home. I got bored so I took a long break. Out of the blue, my mom told me that I was going to take piano lessons again but that it would be a better experience. Soon enough I started to love both playing the piano and singing.”
Most inspirational singer for Stella is Melanie Martinez, a songwriter and music video director. Stella first played in front of a “huge” audience last fall at a rockcital at Chalet Theater in Renton. “I was super nervous when I saw the audience but once I started to play the song it was super awesome!” She plans to “stay focused on my practicing” and “always stay playing piano and singing in the church band and rockology.”
Sixth grade singer and pianist, Sophia Stadler, has always been interested in music. “I used to perform little concerts for family and friends and started taking piano lessons when I was five years old,” she said. That interest followed her through choir taught by Jackie Day at Tahoma Middle School. In the first quarter of this year she won an “Excellence Award” in the class.
Sophia identifies with family talent. Her grandma in Wisconsin is a piano teacher, her mom and aunts were in a drum and bugle corps, and her dad plays the drums. “As a family, we always listen to SPIRIT 105.3 and sing along in the car,” she said. A good memory is of singing Amazing Grace “with my mom all the time when I was little.” Additionally motivational was the fact that she could play Hot Cross Buns and Jingle Bells on the piano!
Her first stint in front of an audience was at age three in a church Christmas musical. “I remember I was really excited about that.” She continued to perform in musicals and plays both in school, at church, as well as at Children’s Village Theater. High school is on the musical horizon for Sophia. She just finished performing in Shrek the musical and her goal is to continue to perform in high school and with the Chamber Choir under the auspices of Tahoma High School choral director, Ken Riggs. Music does indeed make Sophia smile, move with the mood, and send an invitation to those who watch her. She’ll do it ‘til the sun goes down.