Three talents. Three acts. Three Zarlings.
Stephanie, Danielle and Mike Zarling, all students at Helena High School, will perform in this year’s Night to Shine, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Helena Civic Center.
Now in its 17th year, Night to Shine showcases the talents of Helena area youth.
And this year, the Zarlings landed three of the prestigious, highly sought spots.
Stephanie, 14, a freshman, will perform a Norah Jones song, “Not Too Late,” accompanying herself on acoustic guitar.
“I really like Norah Jones,” she said. “The song I picked fits my range. I like the message behind it. They’re a couple trying to work things out and trying to get back to what their love used to be. It really drew me – more than the other songs she wrote.”
Stephanie started learning music in the fifth grade, when she picked up the flute — an instrument that belonged to her mother. In sixth grade, she added guitar.
“I like guitar. It’s a really beautiful instrument and I love to play it,” she said. “I like accompanying myself — being my own band.”
She’s been singing for a long time in church choirs and performs in the HHS Ambiance Choir.
The 16-year-old sophomore has done ballet and tap dance since age 2 or 3, entering her first tap competitions in second grade.
She and junior Kelsey Stoner, 16, created a dueling tap dance number, “The Rhythms in our Feet” for their moment in the spotlight
“I just love to dance,” Danielle said. “Tap dance is my forte, but I like any type of dance.”
In Grandstreet Theatre shows, she’s been enjoying jazz and hip-hop numbers, as well.
She also sings and plays violin.
Mike’s passion is piano, piano, piano.
The 17-year-old junior longs for the time he can attend a music conservatory and devote eight hours a day to mastering the keyboard.
He chose “Etude in C-Sharp Minor” by Russian composer Alexander Scriabin because “it’s shockingly beautiful.”
And he wants more people to know about Scriabin’s music.
“Etude is a simple word for ‘study,’” he said. “The beauty and magnitude of this piece is hidden behind this word.
“A lot of his music is very turbulent beneath the surface. It expands and contracts throughout with sometimes very violent explosions. The ending of this piece is just fantastic.
“Scriabin has become my favorite composer,” Mike added. “I just love his music. I could just gobble it up. I can’t believe someone like Scriabin lived on this earth. It’s unbelievable!”
Mike took to music at an early age, inspired by a film of Prokofiev’s orchestral composition for children, “Peter and the Wolf.”
When they lived in a Minneapolis suburb, their next door neighbor was a piano major. He recalls standing with his mother on the woman’s doorstep when he was 4 years old to ask her if she would take him as a student.
The woman looked down and said, “He’s kind of little.”
But she just happened to have an opening in her schedule, and she gave him a chance.
“It was just destiny,” Mike said.
After the family moved to Helena in 2006, he’s continued his piano studies with two Bozeman teachers.
Not only is he delighted to be in Night to Shine, he’s thrilled at the chance to play the new Steinway piano at the Helena Civic Center, which will do justice to Scriabin’s dazzling work.
The Zarlings rarely perform together, except for their mom’s informal musical soirees with friends and family.
What does the future hold?
Mike and Stephanie dream of pursuing music professionally.
Danielle is still pondering her heart’s desire.
One thing is for certain, however. They’ll all be rooting for each other Tuesday night.
“We’re all really supportive of each other,” said Mike.
“It’s not competitive at all,” added Stephanie.
Night to Shine, a joint project of the DECA clubs at Capital and Helena high schools, is sponsored by Helena Community Credit Union.