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franklin county times
Russellville student Lakin Derrick sings in the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Games in Birmingham.

Russellville student sings as part of youth choir at World Games ceremonies

For 14-year-old Lakin Derrick, now a freshman at Russellville High School, this summer brought the exciting opportunity to sing as one of 80-85 children in the youth choir in the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Games in Birmingham.

“Most of the songs we sang with the adult choir, but the adult choir also had some of their own songs,” explained Derrick. “My favorite was probably ‘Hope of Alabama.’ It was written specifically for the World Games. We also sang the state song of Alabama and a few others.”

No stranger to singing for an audience, Derrick, an alto, spent the past two years performing in the All-State Show Choir, as well as the Russellville Middle School treble choir.

“I’ve been singing pretty much all my life,” said Derrick, who said her favorite genre to sing is “probably pop music.” Among her favorite singers and bands, she listed Taylor Swift, Third Eye Blind and 21 Pilots.

As a drama student with teachers Emily Rush and Mark Keaton at RMS, Derrick heard about the opportunity to perform at the World Games. She decided to go for it and sent in a recorded audition of herself singing.

“I was a little nervous about whether I would get in, but I thought I could do it,” said Derrick. She said she received an email about four months later letting her know she had been accepted.

It was another three or four months before the first practice, in March of this year.

Rush, now a teacher at West Elementary, said she remembers Derrick’s enthusiasm for the opportunity.

“I remember Lakin telling me she auditioned and what an awesome opportunity she thought it was. I was so excited to see this become a reality for her,” Rush said. “Lakin was a fantastic student for me during my time teaching her at RMS.”

Derrick said the lead-up to the event was an involved process, including plenty of paperwork and mandatory practices. The payoff was a fun time meeting lots of new people.

“I got to meet a lot of people from other countries,” said Derrick. “That was my favorite part – all the people I met along the way. Dr. Megan Rudolph of Miles College and Ms. Harris directed us. They were really great, very nice and helped us with a lot of things.”

She said the atmosphere was friendly, explaining she especially enjoyed getting to hang out and meet new people who were also passionate about music.

“We were all there for the music. Sometimes, we would burst out in song, and everyone would sing along. It was just really fun.”

Her parents, Marcy and Steve Derrick, encouraged the opportunity.

“We knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime event,” explained Marcy Derrick, “and we enjoyed being there and getting to see everything firsthand, including the athletes performing, and especially watching Lakin perform on the world stage. All of our family were able to see her on TV, so that was really cool.”

As for the future, Derrick is in drama at RHS, as well as being a member of the tennis team. She’s interested in rocketry and is considering attending the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

She plans to continue singing and performing.

“I mainly just sing, and I know somewhat how to play the piano, but I would really love to learn how to play the guitar,” she said. “I also hope to be part of more performances.”