Lake Norman & Mooresville

First time singing national anthem is for homecoming crowd

One of my students at Christ the King Catholic High School, junior Jessica Pautz, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of the crowd attending the homecoming basketball game on Nov. 14 in Huntersville.

“My glee club instructor, Mrs. Williams, asked me to sing,” said Jess (as her friends call her). “I’d never sung the national anthem alone before. Oh, yeah. I’ve sung it in the shower, if that counts.

“I was glad that I was asked.”

Jess has been “singing since I was little, then I stopped, and came back to it sophomore year in high school. But I was in honors choir in sixth grade.

“I sing because I like it. It makes me feel like I’m capable of having a special talent. I don’t have any other talents ... other than failing famously at dancing ... and trying and falling,” she said. Although she may not be able to dance, Jess is being modest. She does have other talents, demonstrated by having one of the leading roles in last year’s school play.

Before her performance, Jess “practiced with Mrs. Williams. I wouldn’t let my mom hear me. I also practiced in the shower.”

The morning of the performance, “I practiced in the gym in front of three friends who also love to sing, the basketball coach and my English teacher.”

Jess said she “worried about going (singing) too high and about going off pitch. Because my throat hurt, all that day, I drank water and lemon.”

After her performance, Jess said she was “surprised at the applause I got.”

Heading back to the bleachers, “I slipped and almost fell, on my booty. My uncle said to me, ‘Just remember that you’re in good company, because Jennifer Lawrence fell on the way up to get her Oscar.’” In 2013, Jennifer Lawrence tripped while going up the stairs to the stage to accept her Academy Award.

“My science teacher joked that the fall was to make sure everyone else felt less inferior after my good performance,” Jess added.

Besides being a wonderful singer, Jess likes to do stained glass. She made a skyline of New York City, with the twin towers painted in shadows. The art piece is hanging in her dad’s office in their house. “My next project is a Tiffany-style lamp,” Jess said. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like, probably rainbow-y.”

Jess turned 17 at the beginning of November and lives in the Shavenders Bluff subdivision in Mooresville. She is the daughter of Jim and Susan Pautz and the sister of Amanda, who is a hairstylist C Me Shear Salon in Mooresville. When she graduates from high school, Jess wants to major in visual and performing arts.