Eighth-grader is singing for her school

April 24, 2002|BY TARA REILLY

Thirteen-year-old Amy Cornelius doesn't waste much time when it comes to perfecting a natural talent.

"She sings from the time she wakes up until she goes to bed," her mother Susan Cornelius said. "She's always singing."

The Northern Middle School student's gift for song landed her a solo performance Tuesday night at the Maryland State Department of Education's Blue Ribbon Schools Gala Dinner night at Martin's West in Baltimore.

Northern Middle School was one of nine schools throughout the state to be named a 2002 state Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Springfield Middle School received honorable mention Blue Ribbon status.


Amy, an eighth-grader, was to sing and perform motions to "Pure Imagination" from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

Hours before she was to perform, she said she was a little nervous because she'd never sung while performing choreographed moves.

She spent about three weeks practicing.

"I'm probably just as nervous, if not more, than she is," her mother said Tuesday afternoon. "We're very proud of her, and we know she'll do a wonderful job to represent Northern Middle School."

Amy was to sing for approximately 1,100 people, including U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick.

Her mother said it's not the first time Amy has performed in front of a large crowd. This year, she had a solo in the Washington County All-County Chorus.

Amy said she has been singing for as long as she can remember and began taking voice lessons at 8 years old. She also has taken piano lessons.

"I was singing since I was really young," Amy said. "I would just go around singing. I just loved it, and so I begged my mom to let me take lessons."

Her mother said Amy's voice is mezzo-soprano, which means her voice has a lower range than a soprano.

Aside from singing, Amy enjoys dancing, hanging out with her friends and surfing the Internet. Her favorite subject in school is language arts, and she said she's thinking about studying singing and dancing in college.

Amy received help preparing for her Baltimore performance from voice teacher Niki Perini and her former piano teacher Debbie Beer, her mother said.

Amy said her mother and her father, Randy, were excited to hear that she had landed the performance.

"We were thrilled," Susan Cornelius said. "This is a black-tie affair."

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