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Posted: January 18, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Watch one of Newton's own shine in 4-H concert

Everyone is invited to a free concert on Wednesday starting at 7 p.m. at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton.

It will be a high-energy, toe-tapping, family-friendly good time as Clovers and Company takes the stage for a one- hour concert.

This is the only local, open to the public concert this year, so it is an opportunity not to miss.

If you would like to carpool or follow other families, email tkimble@uga.edu for departure time and details.

Each year youths ages 9 to 19 audition for a spot in the statewide performing arts group, and only about 40 singers, dancers and band members are selected.

I might be a little biased, but I’d say a certain Newton 4-H member is one of the stars of the show. (Come to think of it, I always thought alumna Mary Lathem had all the best songs, too!)

Even if I didn’t tell you which youth to look for, I imagine you’d come home talking about her performance, anyway.

What is most magical to me, though, is that just a few years ago I’d never have imagined this 4-H’er stealing the show in a Clovers and Company performance.

She joined the home -school 4-H club in middle school. She attended meetings and came to day camp, but the only thing I really remember about this 4-H’er was her love of large and rather unique hats.

One particular favorite was trimmed out with a real squirrel tail.

She preferred to work on her own and was very quiet.

In eighth grade she prepared a demonstration on ballet that really blew me away. The only problem was that she was trembling so hard while she stood in front of me to practice, I was worried she’d never be able to see her cards.

She told me it was the first time she had presented a paper in front of anyone other than her parents. As she continued to present her demonstration for her club and at competitions, she continued to cling to cards I was sure she already had memorized, and her eyes stayed glued to her nervously shaking hands.

In ninth grade she won a trip to State 4-H Congress with her project, but by this time I realized she was used to performing in front of huge audiences. She sang and acted in Oxford Youth Singers productions and danced with the Covington Regional Ballet.

Under the bright lights of the stage, she flawlessly showcased her artistic talent without any apparent nervousness.

What if she could see public speaking as a performance? Just like "The Nutcracker," a 4-H demonstration requires you to practice, dress the part and plaster a smile across your face.

I wasn’t sure it would work, but it was worth a try.

I have to admit, at State 4-H Congress I fought back tears as she took the floor the same way she takes a stage, with her eyes glued on the audience and without those cards.

She surprised me again when I learned she also plays fiddle with Appalachian Rhythm, a local old- time music group.

As I watching her jam one night at Cowboys BBQ, her performance was incredible, but she seemed a little reserved.

I worried the Clovers wouldn’t think she fit their show, and I think we were equally nervous awaiting the acceptance letter. I shouldn’t have worried; I’ve never seen her light up the way she did reading that letter from Clovers and Company.

When I saw her on stage with Clovers this fall, I was in for another round of blinking back tears as she bloomed on stage in a way I’ve never seen her before.

This Wednesday night, you can see Flannery Peay bring down the house as dueling fiddles battle it out in "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

A little bird told me this performing group just might return to Covington next year, but the show changes every year, so this is a night you can’t pass up.

Let me know if I can save you a seat with other Newton County folks as we ensure that Flannery has the biggest crowd at the show. Email me at tkimble@uga.edu.

Terri Kimble Fullerton is a Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at tkimble@uga.edu.

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