Most singers hit the bar or club scene and skip school to go and audition for whatever hit singing competition show is looking for “talent.”
For a young girl in high school who’s concentrating on her grades as much as she is her budding singing career, those aren’t options at all.
Yet that hasn’t stopped, or even slowed down, Sydnie Maguire, who won last year’s “Bee ’N Idol” competition during the first annual Fusion Music Fest.
Maguire said, “I’ve never really done a competition like that. I’ve done a lot of school competitions, where I sang for the Texas Music Educators Association state choir, and it was really nice to do something like that.”
But every stunning voice was always once just a peep. And, during an intimate performance, she cultivated the drive she needed.
She was six.
“When I was little I sang once for my family, and they thought it was so cute,” Maguire recalled.
“I really didn’t want people to think it was cute. I wanted people to take me seriously when I was singing, so I thought I was going to become the best singer I can possibly be.”
So from there, she ended up hitting any stage she could, brushing off the natural urge to feel insecure or fearful.
“I’ve been singing since I was 8, so I never really feel nervous when I go up and sing.” Maguire said. “I feel like it comes naturally to me.”
The 2012 Maguire Texas Tour has been rolling on steadily over the past year. She’s been consistently hitting the Opry circuit, juggling school, choir competitions and whatever academic activities she’s involved in at the time.
Oprys have been held throughout the country since the early 1930s and are usually used as a live platform to introduce new and exciting singing talent, mostly from up-and-coming country music singers.
Basically, performers send in a demo to one of the main offices, then they send it around to the local venues, and if they like what they hear, they call and you’re in.
“I’ve done one in Refugio,” Maguire said, referring to her Opry appearances. “I’ve done one in Cuero, Rockport, Victoria and Corpus. It’s a lot of fun, and I really enjoy it.
“It gave me more experience, because I’ve never sung with a live band before. It’s such a different feeling from just doing it with a CD to doing it with a live band.
“I get so much more energy when I sing with a band.”
Susan Maguire, Sydnie’s mother and traveling companion, because, after all, Sydnie’s only 15, has been witness to many different Opry stages and crowds that can range from 200 attendees to 600.
“It’s just a bunch of older musicians that are amazing and really nice and knowledgeable and kind of take you under their wing,” Susan said.
“If she wanted to sing with a band, I wasn’t going to put her in a bar with a rock band. So it’s the best of both worlds, because she really likes country.”
And even though Oprys tend to sway a little towards traditional classic country, Sydnie doesn’t seem to mind.
When asked who her favorite country artist is, she quickly replies, “Patsy Cline.”
And though these types of Opry shows continue year ’round and seem to be getting more and more popular, there doesn’t seem to be plans for any here locally.
“I wish Beeville would do it,” Susan said. “There’s a lot of good musicians and a lot of good singers, and there’s not really any outlets.”
And even though the family pays out of pocket to attend these performances, they don’t seem to bat an eyelash.
“The money goes back to the kids for scholarships or a charity somewhere,” Susan said. “It’s for the experience and the exposure.”
And when asked if she wishes to join the likes of Martina McBride and Faith Hill, Sydnie replied, “Yes, I would love to be a famous country singer and go to Nashville someday.
“So, if it happens, it happens, but I also want to go to college, too.”
“It took me a while to figure out that country was what I wanted to do. I tried pop, but it just didn’t really work for me.
“I started singing Patsy Cline and then started getting in to the country stuff and realized that this was what I wanted to do. I felt like this is where I needed to be.”
And with all that country singing, it’s no wonder it sometimes spills over to her choir rehearsals.
“My teacher always gets on to me when I say a word with a little bit of a twang,” Sydnie laughed. “She says ‘You can leave that in your country stuff.’”
But she doesn’t stop with just country and choral music.
After hearing about auditions to sing the national anthem before a Corpus Christi Hooks baseball game, Sydnie decided she needed another challenge and possibly a bigger stage.
Sydnie remembered, “I had a solo and ensemble choir competition that day, so I wasn’t able to go out and do what they usually do, which is put you in the middle of the field and you sing for them.
“So I came a little bit earlier and sang inside a sound booth. It was all a capella, and I ended up getting chosen and did it on Bee County day, and it was really fun.”
“It was more nerve-racking when there were a lot of people that you knew. That was the first time I think I was ever that nervous.
“It was really fun, and I was very happy to have gotten that experience.”
And someone, somewhere liked what they heard.
“Then they called me and asked me to do it again this year,” Sydnie gushed.
And it seems like it won’t be long until she’ll be gracing the airwaves either.
One of the prizes of last year’s Bee ’N Idol competition was some recording time at Meskeet Sound & Recording Studio, which Sydnie has yet to use.
“It was because I had so much going on, and it was just really hectic,” Sydnie apologetically stated.
And, while she has made a few recordings she uses to get booked for performances, she has her sights on heading back in to the studio soon.
“I have a demo, but I’m going to do another one this summer,” Sydnie said through a smile. “A real serious one.”
So does she plan on picking up an instrument and putting Taylor Swift in her place?
“I play the piano. I’m more of a beginner,” Sydnie mentioned. “I’ve only been playing piano for a year, but I really want to start playing the guitar, but with everything else it’s hard to start that. But I really want to.”
With the hopes and dreams of a small town country girl trying to make it big, the realization of her small town roots seem ever present.
“I feel like it keeps me closer to my family, and I know a lot of people here, so a lot of people know that I sing,” Sydnie said sincerely.
“But as far as going to where I want to go, as far as going to Nashville, I think it’ll be really hard to leave everything behind and leave my family.
“It’d be really hard to go all over the place and really try and pursue it, while not being at home as much,” Sydnie pondered.
“It helps, but it also hinders me, because there’s not too terribly much to do. But I try and do as much as I possibly can.”
“You have to keep believing. You never know who’s going to be out there. You never know when that chance is going to pop up. Keep trying for it if you really want it.”
Susan said, “Whenever she wants to stop, she can stop.”
Sydnie gave a youthful grin, “I’m not stopping yet.”
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.