FEllSMERE — The positive effects of music and the arts on the human spirit are hard to miss. While countless studies have proven that music can boost memory, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve your response to pain, we don't need scientific research to know how good we feel inside when we hear a moving melody.

Many of us can only fantasize about playing the guitar like Carlos Santana or expertly belting out the lyrics to our favorite song; thankfully, for our listening pleasure, a few skilled individuals can. And although we come to expect a certain level of proficiency from seasoned professionals, it's particularly delightful to spot up-and-coming talent. Colleen Jordan, 17, is such a talent.

We often stumble upon our passions innocently enough, and this was the case with the Colleen at about the age of eight. “I loved the movie Annie and learned all the songs, singing them at home a lot!” said Colleen.

Aside from the fun-loving show tunes in the well-known musical, Colleen's taste demonstrates a rich dichotomy, having also memorized the entire litany of songs in The Phantom of the Opera. One can only smile at the image of a spritely 8-year-old reciting the lyrics to “Think of Me.”

The engaging songstress attended Sebastian River High School but is now a homeschooled High School Senior and will graduate in 2023. Growing up, she had many esteemed teachers that helped shape her, but two particularly stand out. “My church music director, John Korsinski, is instrumental in my musical life,” she said, adding, “He has been a trusted guide and mentor for many years.” More recently, Amy Colfield has tutored Colleen's voice mechanics, directing her toward the next level of mastery.

A few years back, Colleen decided to add flavor to her talents and can now play the guitar, is learning the piano, and tinkers around with her 5-string banjo. Procrastination has reared its steady gaze on her songwriting attempts, but rest assured, that's a momentary glitch in her creative pursuits. And although Colleen thoroughly enjoys drawing, painting, skating, and - like every teenage girl - the beach, music will always be her true love. “Music is my safe place, my escape from the world,” she said, “it’s what makes me happy.”

A testament to her skill, Colleen was recently awarded the National League of American Pen Women's (NLAPW) 2022 Scholarship. The NLAPW grants a yearly scholarship to a young lady in the arts, rotating the distinction between Art, Music, and Letters. “It was an honor for us to grant the thousand dollar scholarship to Miss Jordan this year,” said Donna Puglisi, President of the Cape Canaveral Branch of the NLAPW. “We can't wait to see what the future has in store for her.”

Colleen could barely contain her excitement when she learned she’d be this year’s recipient. “I was ecstatic!” she exclaimed, “Not only because of the scholarship, but because the award came from a group of strong, talented, independent women...I am truly honored.”

And what does the future hold for Colleen? Could Julliard be just around the corner? Attending the Julliard School is a dream for many young musicians like Colleen. “Julliard is the top music school; it’s where I’ve wanted to go ever since I started singing,” reflected Colleen, “...somewhere where everyone around me has the same goals and interests.” Julliard may be at the top of Colleen's college application list, but the roster also includes Curtis, Berklee, and the Manhattan School of Music. Any of them would be lucky to have her.

If you’d like to hear Colleen’s voice for yourself, fret not. She performs songs across genres and ages, including jazz, oldies, pop, Irish classics, and musical theatre regularly at several local establishments. You can catch her on June 2nd at The Cottage in Eau Gallie from 6-8 p.m., where she performs every other Thursday. She can also be heard at the Irish Club, Vero Beach, the second Friday of every month, and at Meg O Malley’s in Melbourne as the lead vocalist with The Emerald Isle band. Colleen is also available for private parties, weddings, and funerals.

“When I perform and witness my audience's joy with my performance, it feels like I can offer us both a chance to escape from our daily lives,” said Colleen. “I honestly can't see myself doing anything else; music is the center of my life.”

Miss Jordan dreams of Broadway, traveling abroad, and adding to her list of performance venues.

Colleen Jordan lives in Fellsmere with her parents, Mark and Gabrielle, and her siblings, Eoghan, Orla, and Sorca. Those interested in hiring Colleen for events, please contact her mother at gabriellejordan@bellsouth.net.

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