Three finalists in the National FFA Talent Competition took the stage to perform in front of thousands of FFA members. Emma Long, Area 1 president from Pickens County, Ga., was named the winner with her crowd-captivating performance of “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey.
Not only did Emma sing, but she also played the piano effortlessly. From the first stroke of the keyboard, FFA members cheered. “I thought that would be so cool (to sing), but it would also be so cool if I could play it on the piano. That would bring a new feel to the room,” Long said.
She has been playing piano for eight years and was thankful FFA has a talent contest. “I’m passionate about FFA, so I was super excited to learn there was something else I loved in the organization I’m so passionate about,” she said.
Long won the Georgia State FFA Talent competition in eighth grade. As a freshman, she competed at the national competition and made the top 15. Long says she has learned a lot about engaging the audience. “My song choice was ‘Don’t Stop Believin.’’ I am actually a die-hard Journey fan. It is such a well-known song. I knew that song would light up the room as soon as you play it,” Long said.
While on stage, Long said the best feeling was hearing her fellow Georgia FFA members cheer for her. “It felt so good to know they were there to support me and knowing everyone liked it,” she said.
She wants to encourage other FFA members to not be afraid to share their talent. “Just go for it because I was so scared to do it. I was so intimidated last year because I was a freshman, and there were so many kids around me that were so good, but you’re good too. You just have to be able to do that on stage and have a good time,” said Long.
She plans to enter a Nashville song-writing contest and keep music a part of her life. Long has long-term goals to be an agriculture teacher thanks to her experience in FFA.
To learn more about the National FFA Talent contest, visit convention.ffa.org/planning/band-chorus-talent.
Lauren Schwab is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She works full time on her family’s pig farm as the farrowing house manager. She is a freelance writer and blogger at farmgirlwithcurls.com.