By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Given that there have been more than 22,000 views on YouTube.com alone of 13-year-old Kate Falcon singing with Martina McBride, you might have heard how the Rainbow Middle School student was invited on stage and wowed the crowd during McBride’s Sept. 28 show at the Ryman Auditorium.
The YouTube numbers don’t count the people who made aware of Kate’s performance of McBride’s hit “Anyway” on McBride’s website, or Great American Country’s News & Notes website, or any of the many radio stations that have linked to the performance.
Kate and her parents, Patricia and Leroy Falcon, continue to get messages about the performance.
Patricia said they’ve heard nothing but positive comments after an experience that they’ve come to look at as part of God’s plan for their talented girl. Patricia said they hope the attention from this performance will help open doors to a music career for Kate.
The Falcons visited Nashville last month and toured the Ryman, soaking up the history of the place, Patricia said, marveling at being in the same dressing rooms that Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn had used.
There was a chance to have photos made on the stage, and Kate had told their guide she liked to sing. Kate ended up belting out “Stand By Your Man,” from the stage of the Ryman, as people working there started coming out to watch.
When one of the Ryman workers told her, “Honey, with a voice like that you’ll be back on this stage,” the Falcons were proud, but unaware of how prophetic those words were.
Patricia said she hadn’t thought about trying to get tickets to McBride’s show at the Ryman, and it was officially sold out. But when she made a last ditch try on the Internet, she found two tickets, no together, for the show. Patricia bought them, and later discovered one was a front row seat. She was later able to get three more tickets, so that her parents, visiting from Louisiana, and her son Lane were able to go as well.
“My parents surprised me with tickets,” Kate said, and as they talked about going, her parents suggested she make a sign, asking if she could sing with McBride.
“As we were going out the door of the hotel we made a sign,” Kate said. It read “Martina, can I sing with you?” Kate, carrying her sign, took the front row seat and was seated next to teenage girl. During a break in the music when McBride was talking to the audience, that girl called out to McBride, saying Kate wanted to sing with her.
“That got her ear and I held up my sign,” Kate said. She was invited on stage and given the opportunity to sing “Anyway” with a country music great, and she made the most of it.
“I was telling myself not to go crazy,” Kate said. “She is my idol. She has been since I was really little.” Still, Kate said she wasn’t scared on stage. “I think I stopped breathing after I got off stage.”
When Kate started to sing, the response was equal to her performance. McBride sat down on stage to listen to her sing for a portion of the song, and when it was finished, the crowd came to its feet. In the YouTube video, you can see McBride directing Kate’s attention to the crowd, telling her, “look at that … it’s for you.”
Since the story – and the video – from McBride’s concert garnered attention, Kate said everyone has been very supportive, from the people at her school to people who only know her from seeing the performance on the internet, or having been in the audience at the show.
Patricia said Kate tweeted the performance to Ellen DeGeneres, and someone else who was at the Ryman that night saw the tweet and gave her an enthusiastic endorsement. “She tweeted, ‘They’re going to have to put a new roof on the Ryman because (Kate) blew it off.’”
Through all the excitement and attention, Patricia said they continue to be amazed by McBride’s generosity at giving Kate the chance to sing, and effectively surrendering the spotlight to her. By the second chorus of “Anyway,” the YouTube video shows McBride taking a seat on stage and waving to Kate to continue the song.
The Falcons have been amazed, too, at the role social media has played in spreading the story and bringing Kate attention. Views of other Kate’s other performances on YouTube have had increased views since the Ryman incident.
Music has been a large part of Kate’s life for some time. She’s always loved to sing, her mom has said, and she’s been taking voice lessons.
She’s performed in local talent shows, and was one of the winners in the Alabama Talent Hunt recently, which led to her recording a song for a compilation CD. Kate has lent her talents to an anti-bullying rally earlier this year in Gadsden, and she sang at the Harvest Festival in Boaz earlier this month.
While the family was in Nashville in September, Patricia said, Kate was singing at the opening of a recording studio.
And then many magical things fell together Patricia said, to put her in the audience for the McBride show, and then to put her onstage.
“We’ve just felt so moved by this experience,” Patricia said. “We feel its part of God’s plan for Kate.”