Local girl to attend music conference

Jaelynn Fleck is on her way to California for the Berklee in L.A. Summer Program

by: Contributed photograph - Jaelynn Fleck, a senior at Crook County High School, aspires to be a country musician. She has been singing since the age of seven and counts Dolly Parton, Sara Evans and Martina McBride as influences.

Jaelynn Fleck remembers singing songs from when she was 7.
   "I just learned how to play the guitar last year in the Americana Project, but I've been singing since I was 7," said the Post resident, who will be a senior this fall at Crook County High School.
   She sang "everything that was on the radio. A lot of Dolly Parton and pretty much everything." She also lists country and western singers Sara Evans and Martina McBride as influences.
   Now Fleck, who aspires to be a country musician, has been chosen as one of 150 students from across the nation to attend the Berklee in L.A. Summer Program.
   She has about $1,000 saved for the trip, but needs the public's help to pay for the rest.
   "It's going to cost $2,000 and my deadline is on the 15th of July," the student said.
   The senior said CCHS teacher Rick Johnson and the Americana Project were key influences for her. The Americana Project helped showcase CCHS singing and musical talent and resulted in a compact disc of students' performances.
   "That's helped me out a lot because before that, I pretty much didn't know anything about music and guitars," she said.
   Fleck writes about everyday occurrences and what makes her happy in her songs.
   "Actually, it's whatever situation she's in the middle of," said her mother, Jodie. "She'll pick up a pencil and say 'Oh, that would be good for a song.'"
   Fleck is also a member of the Central Oregon Songwriters Association, where she competed for and received the award for the 2006 Youth Song of the Year. She was also second runner-up in CCHS's own version of "American Idol" for 2006. Additionally, the Crook County Boys Choir Cadet produced a "Winters Follies," in which she auditioned and performed at their February 2006 concert.
   This week, she is performing before the Oregon Cattlemen's Association in John Day.
   She will participate at the Berklee conference in Los Angeles at Fullerton College.
   "They're going to go over performance, to teach you how to be a better performer," Fleck said.
   "It's pretty stringent," said her mother. "It's four days and they have you in class from 9 to 9 every day."
   Students will also learn the business management aspects of a career in music.
   "Then the final night, they will have a performance or concert," Jodie Fleck said.
   Jaelynn had to submit an essay and a demonstration tape to the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
   "I'd like to say it's interesting to watch Jaelynn make decisions on what she wants to do," Jodie said, adding that she has to choose between being with friends and working toward her goals in music.
   Fleck is soft-spoken, but optimistic about herself and her career choice.
   "I work hard to try to get what I want to try to reach my goals and I'm 100 percent dedicated to it," she said.
   Jaelynn and Jodie thanked various people for their support of Jaelynn, including the Pau-Mau Club in Paulina, which provided her $300 and Crook County resident Jessie Ritch, who bought labels, compact discs and CD covers for the student. R&M Productions produced her compact disc and LaDonna Baker at CCHS was also helpful.
   "The people of the upper country - they've been supporting her with money beyond the cost of the CDs," Jodie said.