MANATEE -- For 17-year-old Channing Weir, music is euphoria.
An Army brat, Weir moved from city to city, cocooned in adolescent shyness. Then one day, at the tender age of 8, she discovered she had a powerful instrument -- her voice -- when she tried out for a musical while living in North Carolina. Since that day, she has enjoyed sharing it with the world.
And on Saturday, Weir will be one of many performing at the fifth annual Ovation Celebration on Lakewood Ranchs Main Street.
The Lakewood Ranch High junior has performed in numerous productions with The Manatee Players theater group, has sung the national anthem at Tropicana Field for the Tampa Bay Rays and competed in singing competitions. She will perform in back-to-back shows Saturday, first at noon alongside 11-year-old Hannah Beatt, who also performs with The Manatee Players. The two will share a stage for 30 minutes, each delivering three solo Broadway songs. Then, at 12:30 p.m., Weir will sing with the Lakewood Ranch High School Drama Club.
If you asked, Weir would sing until the sun sets.
This big voice comes out of me, she said. You feel the emotion and you feel like youre flying.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., entertainment will be showcased on two stages simultaneously, including performances from the Sarasota Ballet School, Chorus of the Keys, Lakewood Ranch High School Silver Stars Dance Team, Diversity Experience, Lets Rock Sarasota, Florida Studio Theatre Childrens Improv, The Players Theatre, Sarasota Dance Academy, Cardinal Mooney High School Drama Department and Womens Contemporary Artists.
The event is free to the public. Parking will be available on Main Street and in the Lakewood Ranch Hospital parking area. Seating will be provided.
Sarasota Dance Academy, which offers a dance curriculum for students of all ages, will be one of the final performances of the day. Academy instructor Meghan Sinclair said nearly 15 dancers as young as 4 will perform a variety of pieces from their most recent production, Snow Child, and also from their spring showcase. SDA performed at the event last year.
Its a great opportunity for them to showcase their talents and gain life experience, Sinclair said.
The shops, boutiques and restaurants of Main Street will remain open and Polo Grill and Bar will serve a special cocktail for the event.
Weirs dream is to make it to New York City and sing on Broadway. Whats just as meaningful to Weir, however, is the opportunity to sing for the community shes called home after years of roaming,
They can say thats our girl, she said.
One day, Weir, who is making her Ovation Celebration debut, hopes folks from the area will remember where it all began for their star performer.
It was just fun, she said. Nothing my mom pushed me into. It helped me come out of my little 8-year old-shell.
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. Tweet him at @_1NickWilliams