The Desert Pulse Artist Spotlight on Sarah Jane Birch.
On a scorching hot southern Utah summer day, at the 2016 City of St. George 4th of July Celebration, Sarah Jane first came to the attention of The Desert Pulse. She was as near to an answer to a prayer as you can get without actually praying.
The City of St. George had asked The Desert Pulse to book and present the LIVE Music stage for their celebration. The music talent was booked and ready to go in the time slot allotted. However, the entertainment scheduled prior to the LIVE Music was near completion and was going to leave a significant gap of time between scheduled entertainment.
As we scrambled to try and find a way to keep the entertainment continuous with the scheduled musicians having not yet arrived, we came up with all sorts of possibilities to fill the time, none of which were satisfactory; nor, entertaining. It was then, the second to last performer before we were to take the stage came on and delivered a staggeringly powerful performance that could not be ignored. Turning to see who was performing, I knew we had the solution.
As soon as she left the stage, I ran over and introduced myself to this talented 16 year old and her parents. I asked if she would be interested in singing a few songs to fill the time gap and asked her name to introduce her. With that announcement, welcoming Sarah Jane to the stage, she has become an integral part of the events and venues The Desert Pulse puts on from that moment forward.
Musical talent comes in all shapes, sizes and ages. Often, when we see talent in youth we are over-glowing with praise as we are generally more excited for their potential than their honest ability. While many are able to perform a few songs well, seldom are younger musicians able to demonstrate precision with every song. And, even more rare is a strong stage presence (many seasoned musicians have a difficult time with this portion of their performance). Upon seeing her perform, it is immediately realized, high acclaim is not overstated when describing the talent of Sarah Jane Birch. Her incredibly powerful vocals penetrate the music lovers soul. Her stage presence is amazingly mature. The combination is mesmerizing. Sarah Jane commands your attention making it impossible to passively listen, as she pulls you in for every earth moving note.
Sarah Jane has had a love of music as far back as she can recall. She spent her early years growing up in a remote area in Wayne County, Utah. Here the only music she knew were church hymns, musicals, Disney music and Country music. Sarah Jane shared, “I didn’t have a lot of exposure to the outside world. As far as I was concerned, the only things that really existed were horses, Disney movies, country music, exploring the mountains, family and friends.”
Most Sundays, she attended church where the congregation all sang along to church hymns. Sarah Jane reports her Dad sings very well and her mom sings and plays piano. This led her to believe everyone could sing and/or play a musical instrument.
“It’s kind of like, everyone has two eyes, two ears, a nose, a mouth,” Sarah Jane explained. “I just thought singing was something everyone could do.”
“The day I decided to sing is a day I’ll never forget,” Sarah Jane recalls. “I was at my cousin’s house and they had Hannah Montana on the TV. I had watched the show before, at their house. However, in this particular episode, she was singing on stage in front of a crowd. This was something I had never seen before. It was in that moment, I thought to myself, she is not that much older than me. I want to do what she is doing.”
“Fast forward a few years, I’m living in St. George and have become aware that singing is a talent and takes work to develop. At age 14 while in the 8th grade, I took the stage for the first time at my school. I signed up to perform at “Thunder Idol” in front of my peers and classmates. My mom signed me up for some singing lessons to help me prepare. The day came much faster than anticipated and before I know it, my name is announced, the students cheer and I take the stage to sing my song. It was over in a blink of an eye. But, as I walked off that stage, I experienced the biggest sense of joy and knew immediately, this is what I want to do.”
Sarah Jane has since started to add a significant number of performances to her experience. She has performed the National Anthem for The Desert Pulse at the 2017 City of St. George 4th of July Celebration along with numerous other venues. She has been a finalist multiple times at Dixie’s Got Talent. She has participated in numerous musicals including St. George Musical Theater’s Sound of Music and Music Man, Desert Hills High School’s Aida and Miss Saigon along with Brigham’s Playhouse Annie Get Your Gun.
She performs regularly with Shannon Birch Vocal Studio at Georgefest and Even Stevens. Sarah Jane also performs solo at Even Stevens and has played Red Rock LIVE in Kanab. She has interviewed and performed on Radio Dixie’s Mostly Local Show with Portia Romero. And, she was able to open for 2017 International Touring Artist of the Year, Jenn Bostic, at The Electric Theater. In January 2018, Sarah Jane won first place at the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singers) competition at the University of Utah.
In many ways, Sarah Jane has been a hidden gem in the Southern Utah Music Scene. With her dedication to honing in and crafting her talent, she is poised to not only make a splash but some colossal waves, locally and beyond. Her dedication and daily practice is evident in each video she posts and every show she performs. With the amount of talent she already has, It is difficult to see how she can get better–but, somehow, she continues to do so. This girl is one to watch and see in action at every opportunity. In the very near future, Sarah Jane could very well be selling out stadiums and arenas globally. Yes, she is that talented.