The room is dead silent. The stillness is interrupted by pen scratches and the occasional cough. The heavy anticipation clings in the air. Everyone holds their breath watching the lone girl sitting in a chair at the front of the room. The three most important people look up and it starts. A few notes flood the huge room and Rachel wilkey, junior, looks up starting a beautiful melody fits like jam on toast with the song. This is individual speech.
Wilkey has been involved in speech since freshman year, and it has quickly become one of her favorite clubs. Individual speech is a nationwide competition, involving many categories where an individual performs and gets scored, by a panel of judges. Wilkey is involved in two categories improv and musical theatre. “Musical theatre is where choose a piece of music that is styled like a musical and perform it. You have less than five minutes to perform the piece.” Wilkey said. Wilkey’s piece entitled “I Know it’s Today” from Shrek the musical has landed her a spot among the best performers in the state of Iowa. Rachel has made it to All state, the best you can do in speech, and the only one from marion to do so. She was in a unique scenario. To make it to all state, two of the three judges need to nominate the performance. Rachel got a score of two ones and a two, which is a sign that she probably won’t make it. Yet looking at the list the two judges nominated her and Wilkey made it. She will perform on monday, march 26th at UNI.
Rachel has only ever made it to all state for large group, and this nervous first time energy isn’t new to Wilkey, and she loves it. “I like speech because it gives me another chance to perform. I love to perform because I like to see the joy I can bring to people” Wilkey said. Performing for Wilkey has always been a joy. “I always watched my sister in musical and idolized her.” Wilkey said. Performing has turned into second nature but she still loves every second and is so happy to be on the long road toward greatness. Wilkey suggests that everyone joins speech, individual or group, because there is a category for everyone.
Wilkey is amazed at the support she has gotten and hopes that she will see familiar faces in the crowd when she performs. As Rachel sings the final notes in her final performance she knows all her work has been building up to this.