The National FFA Convention is not only for students looking to show-off their agriculture skills, but also their musical talents. Students looking to perform go through a rigorous application process, and once there, compete through multiple rounds. No one from the Paris R-II School District has ever made it, until now that is.
Paris students Amber Chapman and Allison Miller passed the application process and will compete as a duet at the National FFA Talent Competition taking place October 17th through the 22nd.
“I’m very excited,” said Chapman. Miller agreed, but added,”Though I’m sure when I get there I will be freaking out.”
This isn’t the duos first time competing together. They sang together at the Missouri State FFA Convention and, according to Chapman, were urged immediately that they should apply for Nationals.
“At the time, we didn’t really think we had a shot but knew it wouldn’t hurt to try anyway,” said Chapman.
When asked about their reactions to being accepted, both were blown away. Chapman received a phone call from Mr. Bondy, the FFA advisor, and when Chapman informed Miller later that evening she “screamed and ran around the house for a solid three minutes” and then called her mother.
Both Chapman and Miller are experienced musicians.
Chapman plays the flute in the school band and has been in multiple theatrical plays including Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Spamalot, and Bye, Bye, Birdie.
Miller plays not one, but seven instruments. She is self-taught and mostly plays by ear. Those instruments include drums, guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, piano, flute, and trumpet.
Miller and Chapman have a set list of ten songs from varying genres that they will be performing. A few of the songs will be from artists Tom Petty, Fall Out Boy, Neil Young and Train.
“We try to appeal to all audiences,” said Chapman.
The duo also believes they have a unique advantage over the competition.
“I’m very excited to compete because I feel like Allison and I bring a live component to our performance. We aren’t standing up there with a playback CD. We are both playing instruments and she is constantly changing her instrument for each song. She’s so musically diverse, and I want to flaunt every aspect of that. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do this without her and I’m so lucky to be able to take the stage with her,” said Chapman.
“If anything this is going to be a learning experience,” said Miller. “Playing in front of almost 10,000 people at state last year was a real confidence booster.”
A learning experience, it will be.