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Bright Future: Monterey student sings with heart and soul

submitted photo — Monterey High School sophomore Bailey Book sings the National Anthem before a University of Louisiana-Monroe game in November. Book will compete in the State Beta Club Convention in Lafayette Friday for a chance to compete at the national convention this summer in Richmond, Va.
submitted photo — Monterey High School sophomore Bailey Book sings the National Anthem before a University of Louisiana-Monroe game in November. Book will compete in the State Beta Club Convention in Lafayette Friday for a chance to compete at the national convention this summer in Richmond, Va.

MONTEREY — Bailey Book has been singing for as long as she can remember.

From her first performance at church when she was 4 years old, to singing the National Anthem at a University of Louisiana-Monroe football game in November, Book, 15, has jumped at the chance to sing whenever and wherever she could.

All her previous experiences will come in handy when Book takes the stage Friday in Lafayette to sing in front of nearly 8,000 people as part of the State Beta Club Convention.

“I’m nervous and excited,” Book said. “It will be one of the biggest crowds I’ve ever performed in front of.”

The Monterey High School sophomore reached the state convention after winning first place in the District 3 special talent competition with her rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”

“They said I was the first one from Monterey to ever make it to state,” Book said. “I really like that song and so do my parents, so I chose it and it worked out.

“I’ll be singing the same song at state.”

Book will compete against 10 other Beta Club students from across the state Friday for a chance to make it to the national convention in Richmond, Va., this summer.

Book said she never imagined she would go this far with singing but has enjoyed the journey so far.

“I begged my mom to let me do piano and voice lessons when I was younger,” she said. “I became more interested in singing than piano, so when I had the option of picking, I decided to go with just singing.

“Singing came more naturally for me, and it’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing.”

Book said she performs other artists’ songs, but occasionally brings out the pencil and paper to jot down some of her own song ideas.

“I’ve never sang any of the songs I’ve written in public,” Book said, laughing. “But sometimes I’ll jot down lyrics and try to put them together in a song later.”

Book said performing at a variety of events throughout the community and at her school help her practice and maintain her talent.

“It doesn’t matter what it is, I’ll try and sing it,” Book said. “My voice teacher and coach always has a lot of stuff planned throughout the year, but if I can find anything on my own I always try to participate in it.”

Local artist and music teacher Sylvia Johns Ritchie has been teaching Book voice and piano since Book was in the third grade.

Ritchie said Book is a shining example of what a student can accomplish when they have a passion for music.

“She puts her heart and soul into everything she does,” Ritchie said. “She can sing anything from opera to country and do it all wonderfully.

“I wish I had more students like her.”

Juggling music, school, softball, basketball and dance can sometimes be difficult, but Book said she enjoys staying busy.

“I’d rather be busy than have a lot of down time,” Book said. “I like to stay very busy, but my grades are definitely the most important thing.”

Book said she’s excited to compete in the state competition with the idea of advancing to the national competition and possibly pursuing music as a career down the road.

“I’d love to make a career out of it, but it just kind of depends on what happens,” Book said. “If music doesn’t work out, I would go into the medical field.”

Book is the daughter of George and TeLina Book.