By Ruth Fordon
For a young woman, now a senior in high school, Samantha Styron is the first to admit how lucky she is to come from a musical family.
Her father David Styron, also a gifted musician, recognized her vocal talents when she was very young.
Under his tutelage, she has learned to play the guitar and has performed with him at several venues this summer as the duo “Samantha and David.”
Another family member who influenced Samantha was her Aunt Belinda Teeter, who died in 2002.
She also was known for her wonderful voice and once had traveled to Nashville to pursue her dreams.
From age 9 to 13, Samantha participated in the Pre-Teen America Scholarship Program for North Carolina which stressed academic achievement, community service and involvement.
“It was a great experience,” said her mother, Kari Styron. “She actually won the talent competition for North Caroline, two years running and got to go to nationals in Baton Rouge in 2009 and 2010.”
In the spring of 2014, Samantha auditioned and earned one of the musical leads in Ocracoke’s weekly summer theater production of “A Tale of Blackbeard,” and that has awakened the acting bug in her as well.
Learning to become a character and make that believable was a wonderful and fun challenge for Samantha.
“I really loved it,” she said about the community theater event. “It was awesome and I really hope we do it again next summer.”
Interestingly, her father David more than 20 years ago and before Samantha was born, also appeared twice in the Blackbeard play.
Performing in musical theater with a wonderful cast of local residents has broadened her appreciation of the diverse talents within the Ocracoke community.
“Music comes naturally, but it is not easy,” Samantha explained as she describes her perfectionism and the pursuit of her craft. “I have to work at it.”
She does not read music and must learn by ear and remember the guitar chord progressions as well as all the words and rhythms.
Ocracoke School does not have a music program. So students who desire lessons must turn to family and community people with music experience.
Fortunately, this island community has an abundance of musicians in that pool.
She describes her genre as country with a little blues and some rock.
Although she likes all kinds of music, her favorite performers are Carrie Underwood, Linda Ronstadt and Cheryl Crow.
Almost 18, Samantha is at a time in her life where she is applying to college, and many opportunities are possible as she looks toward her future.
During the academic year, athletics and classwork compete for her time while her musical aspirations hum in the background.
A practical person, Samantha is thoughtful about her future.
She and her dad are talking about making a demo tape, and she is hoping to return to the piano and learn to play the mandolin.
But she wants a backup plan.
Right now, college next fall will be a whole new world to explore and a career in physical therapy appeals to her.
By Ruth Fordon