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Teen musician shares anti-bullying message with students
The Country Music Association named Lizzie Sider the artist to watch in 2013, but this week in Northern California, the 15-year-old country singer caught the attention of thousands of elementary school students who had the opportunity to hear her anti-bullying message and music.
Sider performed for Woodson Elementary and Rancho Tehama students on Wednesday, where she spoke about her personal journey as a young student who was bullied.
She also performed her original song "Butterfly," which Sider co-wrote about her experience and how she overcame the teasing.
On Thursday, Sider performed two concerts in Willows and Orland for students bussed in from schools from Stonyford to Capay.
"This has exceeded every expectation I've ever had," said Sider, after performing before 1,200 students in Willows, her largest audience since starting a two-month road tour that will end on Nov. 26 in Palm Springs.
During her tour, Sider plans to visit more than 80 schools, where she hopes to encourage kids to not only prevent bullying but to successfully rise above ridicule, just as she did as a small child.
"She was awesome," said Sarah Zimmerman, 10, a student at Indian Valley Elementary School in Stonyford, who saw Sider's concert on Thursday. "She's a great singer and she knows how to stand up for herself."
Sider has wanted to be a performing artist since she was a 5 years old in her first musical theater production of "Don't Count Your Chickens Until They Cry Wolf," a play with Aesop's menagerie of precocious critters teaching children about life's little ground rules.
"Someday, I want to perform before an audience of 20,000 people, but, right now, being able to sing to these kids is so amazing," Sider said.
At Rancho Tehama, Sider played for just 40 students.
"What a day to forget my guitar," laughed Sider. "They let me use a little guitar they had in the room, so I sat there and played out of tune and sang. It was nice and very intimate."
Sider is taking her anti-bullying message on the road with her parents, Mark and Carole Sider, who are funding the tour.
She is performing for the schools at no cost, and hands out her photograph — which she signs for students after each performance — and gives each student a bracelet with her signature message, "Nobody has the power to ruin your day."
Sider said her recent switch from public school to home school has allowed her to travel for the concerts.
Her goal is to help kids as a positive role model, and show them how to rise above ridicule to follow their dreams.
Jillian Roper, 11, a student at Willows Intermediate School, said Sider's message hit home with students, who are often at odds on how to deal with bullying behavior at school.
"It was inspirational," Roper said.
For the assemblies, Sider is collaborating with Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center in conjunction with October's National Bullying Prevention Month, which was launched by Pacer in 2006.
She splits her time between Boca Raton, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn., and recently participated in her first Country Music Association Fest week with her own booth and with a live performance at the famed country music venue, The Wildhorse.
Both "Butterfly" and Sider's follow-up single, "I Love You That Much," charted in the Top 40 on Music Row.
The video for "I Love You That Much" was directed by Steven Goldmann, whose past credits include Alan Jackson, Martina McBride and Shania Twain.
Sider is working on her first full-length studio album for release in 2014.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.