THOMASVILLE — With time running out to get ready for her speech at the Class AA state literary meet, Ella Milliere decided to change course on what she wanted to talk about.
It wound up being an astute choice.
Milliere won state in extemporaneous speaking and Julianna Watson won second in girls solo. Watson was also a member of the fourth-place trio at the state literary meet, held May 1 at Milledgeville’s Georgia Military College.
Thomasville finished third overall in the state among Class AA schools.
Milliere said she did research on the topics beforehand. Her extemporaneous speech turned out to be just that.
“But all the research I did get didn’t help me with my topic,” she said. “So it was off the top of my head.”
Given 30 minutes to prepare for a seven-minute speech, Milliere chose from among a list of topics. She eventually chose “Should the United States transition to a cashless society.”
Milliere’s position is that it should not — after first taking the other side.
“Originally, I was going to argue ‘yes,’” she said, “but as I was writing my speech, I said, you know what, no. I did a U-turn.”
She also got worried when she used up just four minutes of her allotted time. Spying her scores, her heart sank. She thought the 7 by her name meant she was in seventh place.
It turned out that represented the points she earned.
“I was scared because I only spoke for four minutes,” she said. “I called my mom and thought I got last place. I was so nervous.”
Watson won four region championships in solo and trio.
“I was pretty confident about it,” she said of her performance at the state meet. “We put so much work into it I felt like I had to do good.”
Watson too had a seven-minute slot and to sing two songs. One has to be in a foreign language and the other is of the performer’s choice.
“I just had trouble finding another song to fit the time slot,” she said. “I was going to do a completely different song.”
Watson wanted to perform “The Doll Song,” regarded as one of the most difficult arias to sing. But it’s also seven minutes and 30 seconds long.
She chose Mozart’s “Pangs of Hell” from the The Queen of the Night’s aria in “The Magic Flute.” Her other choice was “In My Dreams” from the musical “Anastasia.”
She also needed to find a skilled accompanist. She picked Tom Whiddon.
“He is really good,” Watson said. “He is amazing.”
Watson has been singing for as long as she can remember.
“My mom says I’ve been singing since I was very, very young,” she said.
Watson will be attending Reinhardt University in Waleska to earn a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater. Milliere will be studying international affairs at the University of Virginia.
Editor Pat Donahue can be reached at (229) 226-2400 ext. 1806.