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Young Writers Project: 'Playing At Higher Ground'

Courtesy, Susan Reid
Caroline Swayze, a sixth grade student at Charlotte Central School, writes about the excitement and nervousness she felt before playing her fiddle at the Higher Ground music venue in South Burlington.

I sat in my chair, shaking with nervousness and excitement. I was about to play my fiddle at Higher Ground Music Center in South Burlington.

As the master of ceremonies introduced me, I started to walk up on stage. In the back of my head I heard cheering, but in front, everything was blank. I tried to remember what my friends and family told me, “Imagine that all the audience is in their underpants!”

Nope, I thought, that was just too weird. “Imagine you are just playing in your room and nobody is there.”

That’s impossible; there were more than 50 people in front of me. I tried hard to smile as I sat in front of the mic. I didn’t have the strength to do that now. Maybe if I played one song before, I would feel better.

I glanced at the song list in my hand. I decided not to follow that for now; when I wrote that, I was not nervous at all, just excited that I had this huge opportunity. But now I needed to play my favorite song that would let my stress out. “St. Nick’s” was the perfect song. As I droned on the A string for eight measures, I started to feel better.  

Then I launched into the song. It was pretty fast paced and upbeat so I could only pay attention to the song, not the audience. It sounded really pretty and clear. When I finished the song, I felt so much better, happy even. I made my announcement, launched into another song and I was fine. 

The Young Writers Project provides VPR's audience another avenue to hear and read selections from Vermont's young writers. The project is a collaboration organized by Geoff Gevalt at the Young Writers Project. The thoughts and ideas expressed here are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Vermont Public Radio.

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