By Hannah Morris | “The first time I heard her sing in my studio, I knew she was going to make it.” These words were spoken by Jenna Fisher, a talented Beaufort local while recalling her memories of Christina Aguilera and the once in a lifetime opportunity she had to influence the young Aguilera prior to fame – all thanks to a chance encounter at a local grocery store.
Several years ago, a somewhat defeated 12 year old Aguilera and her mother were waiting in line to pay for their groceries when the register unfortunately broke. That was not the only disappointing thing to happen to them that day – earlier Aguilera had been turned down at an audition, the only reason cited being “she is more of a solo artist,” and apparently not what they were looking for.
Overhearing the commotion, Fisher offered her services to coach Aguilera’s vocals in her Pittsburgh, PA music studio. After setting up a trial run to hear the young girl sing, she knew in the pit of her stomach, “this child is special, she is going to make it.”
For several months they worked together on various vocal techniques, song selection, and building confidence in the studio. After about 6 months of training, she saw that Disney was auditioning for The Mickey Mouse Club.
They submitted a meager audition tape, recorded in the shower for the acoustic value, accompanied with a simple head shot taken by her local school photographer. A short time later, Aguilera was called to California for an in-person interview.
Aguilera starred on the show with Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Ryan Gosling. The rest is pop music history.
Fisher has made a life out of helping children (other than famous ones) with her career in the world of music education. After one remarkably cold winter in Pittsburgh, she decided to move south – falling in love with Beaufort County. She worked for several years as the Beaufort County Assistant Head of Fine Arts in the local schools. In this position she worked closely supporting the local music programs, while also working as a liaison for the Beaufort and Hilton Head Symphonies and the Parris Island Marine Corps Band.
This year she starts a brand new adventure as the Director of the music program for Beaufort’s own Lowcountry Montessori School. After spending two weeks subbing in classes to meet the children she was delighted by the community she saw. “Each child in this school has a uniqueness to them, they are sweet, well-mannered, and so very intelligent. I could not be more excited to hit the ground running,” she said.
She will be bringing her background in Show Choir to the students, teaching them confidence as they learn to sing, dance, and act in various productions. She is also initiating a brand new choral program. Visit Lowcountry Montessori School online and see what’s going on.
As she continues shaking up the local scholastic music scene, she will continue to work to ignite the inner flame in children resembling those she saw in the young Aguilera. “You meet so many different children as a teacher, but there are certain children that act almost like a sponge. These children are absolutely lethal; willing to take and apply criticism, setting and achieving goals, not to mention that undeniable talent, Jenna told us.
“Christina had all of those traits, and I love working with children to help them realize that all of these traits are locked inside of us – we simply have to let them out.”
The kids are certainly in for an exciting musical year at Lowcountry Montessori.