Nikiski girl to sing at Murkowski's inauguration

Posted: Sunday, December 01, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- Lily Arnett is about to take center stage.

The 7-year-old Nikiski girl has been asked to sing the state song, ''Alaska's Flag,'' at Gov.-elect Frank Murkowski's inauguration ceremony Monday in Juneau.

Lily is getting help from the music teacher at the Kenai Middle School to prepare her song.

''The first time I heard Lily, I knew she didn't need much help,'' said Rosemary Bird, the Kenai Middle School music teacher.

The Alaska Flag Song isn't an easy performance, Bird said.

''But Lily comes with a lot of talent,'' she said.

Bird prepared a rehearsal tape for Lily and has offered tips on microphone use and performance.

It was Lily's grandmother, Sue Tauriainen, who is a pianist, that got the girl hooked on music.

Tauriainen started by teaching Lily to sing ''Tomorrow,'' from the musical ''Annie,'' as well as other show tunes, like Lily's favorite, ''My Favorite Things,'' from ''The Sound of Music.''

''We've just encouraged it,'' said Jackie Arnett, the girl's mother.

Last summer, Lily joined a children's choir and sang patriotic songs at the God and Country Rally. This fall, she performed ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' at a Nikiski Middle-Senior High School football game.

Then, Kay Tauriainen, a relative and treasurer of the Kenai Peninsula Republican Women, asked Lily to sing the national anthem at a luncheon hosted by the organization.

That's where the family met Nancy Murkowski.

''At the end, she said, (Lily) did a wonderful job and asked if she knew the Alaska flag song,'' Jackie Arnett said. ''She said, 'If you learn it, you can sing at the inauguration.'''

Arnett said she wasn't sure the plan would pan out, but every time Nancy Murkowski came back to town, she asked if Lily was practicing.

''Then Senator Murkowski won, and we're headed to Juneau,'' Arnett said.

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