This year Sara Gregory has sang O Canada more times than anyone on the West Shore.
Some weeks the 15-year-old singer would make four trips to West Hills stadium on Sunday; performing the national anthem for the Westshore Rebels, Victoria Spartans or the Belmont Bulldogs.
“I remember the first time I sang for the Rebels. I was so nervous and my hand was shaking so bad that I had to grab it my with other hand,” said the teen who started singing in coffee shops and open mics in 2011.
The Rebels were her first team, and after that inaugural performance she became the football club’s home game singer for the season.
“I was thrilled to give Sara that honour of singing the anthem for all our home games. She did a fantastic job and took her role very seriously,” said Elise Pastro, vice president of Westshore Rebels. “I look forward to seeing where her incredible talent takes her in life and thrilled the Westshore Rebels helped launch her career.”
The Grade 10 Belmont secondary student is a member of the concert choir and a vocal jazz ensemble. Between both groups she finds herself in six to eight practice sessions a week. She also dedicates many hours to her own music in her Langford home.
Piles of paper scattered on the floor of Gregory’s music room elude to the budding musician who writes her own music, working toward making music a full-time job.
“Sara’s skill level greatly exceeded what I would consider normal talent for someone her age,” said Langford musician and singing teacher Carmen Hillary. “When she came to me she already had songwriting ability. I just helped her evolve that and add more of a dynamic range.”
Gregory gained local recognition in July when she won Battle of the Bands at the Westhills Arena.
“I did not expect that to happen,” she said.
She’s now taken two of her 20 songs into the studio to record. Within a year she hopes for the singles to be on iTunes in a quest to grow her career. She is also recording O Canada in hopes of expanding her public performances.