In so many ways, Sarah Perry is every bit an almost-13-year-old. She loves pop music, has homework and likes to talk about her room. “Surprise, it’s messy! Who cares?”
The real surprise is just how quickly the 12-year-old can morph from her pre-teen self into an accomplished musician.
"She once said it's like she's transported to another world, and you can tell by watching her; she is," recalls Sarah’s sister, Catherine.
Sarah likes classical, but loves Celtic music. She says the music connects with her. It started way back in her Irish dancing days when she was just four years old. "I was dancing and I heard the music and I wanted to just stop and listen. I said, ‘mom, I want to learn to play the violin!’”
Sarah’s mom says every generation in her family has had musicians, so it was bound to happen.
And did it ever.
Sarah says she picks up most songs by ear, but she does practice. Her skills have earned her plenty of hardware and titles.
While playing, Sarah says she gets lost in the music. “I get pulled into the music and the melody and let my fingers do the work.”
Playing isn't her only strength. With her tune writing, she earned 12th best in the world in her age group at a competition in Ireland. The winning song was a tribute to a 92-year-old neighbor who died. She called it, "Jill’s Jig."
Sarah says she thinks Jill would have been happy with the tribute. “She always enjoyed my playing and the one wish that I had for her life is that I played for her more.”
Sarah’s father, John, recalls his daughter turning to her music during stressful times to find a peaceful place to unwind.
She also finds that place with her penny whistle and her mandolin. But the violins - especially a family fiddle - really have her heart. Sarah even refers to her instruments as her “best friends.” “If someone took away one of my violins, I'd be very sad. Two, I'd be desperate. And three, my heart would be broken."
Mom Debra says, “It’s a part of her, and it brings her eternal joy, and I think that's the most valuable thing.”
For Sarah Perry, she says she will never quit her passion and the first great love of her life. “I’m going to play ‘till the day I die … if I’m able to!”