Vourlotis uses music as creative outlet
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
Ashley Vourlotis’ melodic voice accompanied by guitar floated out over the Helena Farmer’s Market recently and drew me closer to hear more.
“I began taking classical piano lessons in the third grade, but I never really liked performing at competitions or recitals and even felt so nervous I didn’t go to my last recital,” she shared.
In middle school, she and her brother shared lesson time with Shane, the owner of Stickandstrum Academy.
“At my first lesson, Shane asked me to sing along with the song I was playing. I was absolutely terrified to even sing in front of one person, but after, I felt excited and couldn’t wait to sing again,” Vourlotis recalls. “From that day on, I learned that I love to sing and have been able to use music as an outlet during difficult times.”
She learned how to play the guitar and later the ukulele.
“I was pretty shy, but I wasn’t really afraid to sing in public and started performing at different community events,” Vourlotis said. “I got encouragement everywhere I performed and that gave me confidence to try and become a better musician and vocalist. I have been blessed to lead in worship at my church, Hunter Street Baptist.”
Last spring Vourlotis helped lead a girl’s conference in Atlanta. She has been teaching at Stickandstrum Academy about a year now giving piano, guitar and ukulele private lessons to students from ages 5 to 15.
“Each lesson is different depending on the student, but my goal is the same, which is to help each student develop a love for music and to discover what they’re passionate about,” she said. “At Stickandstrum, every lesson is individualized to fit the students’ goals.”
Some musicians that inspire and influence Vourlotis’ personal music are Ed Sheeran, James Bay, Lauren Daigle, Kodaline and Kari Jobe.
“My family is 100 percent my biggest encouragement,” Vourlotis said. “My parents constantly make sacrifices to open doors for me and to allow me to do what I love. I’m always surprised, too, by how kind and encouraging the people I’ve met while performing are.”
Vourlotis is currently taking AP Music Theory at Hoover High School, sees herself studying music in college, and says, “I would love to be placed in a church and involved in the music ministry when I am older, too. Regardless of what my career is, I know that I want to continue to use music to inspire and encourage others.”
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