Truman Coffeehouse in Ft. Collins Colorado features Amelia Booker ~ performer (she makes me smile)

Singer/songwriter Amelia Booker, 21, rehearses her original piece 'My Way Back Home' at her north Fort Collins home on Wednesday. Booker will play in a duet during the Art for Arc event Friday at Truman's Coffeehouse, 2555 S. Shields St. RICH ABRAHAMSON/THE COLORADOAN

Singer/songwriter Amelia Booker, 21, rehearses her original piece ‘My Way Back Home’ at her north Fort Collins home on Wednesday. Booker will play in a duet during the Art for Arc event Friday at Truman’s Coffeehouse, 2555 S. Shields St. RICH ABRAHAMSON/THE COLORADOAN
Written by Stacy Nick

ART FOR ARC

» When: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday

» Where: Truman’s Coffeehouse (inside Raintree Athletic Club), 2555 S. Shields St., Fort Collins

» Cost: $25; $40 for two tickets

» Information: (970) 204-6991

» Amelia Booker will perform live and sell her CDs at the event.

As Deborah Booker tells it, the first time a family friend introduced her daughter, Amelia, to a guitar he said “she was a natural.”  Coming from most parents that might sound lofty; but watching her look at her 21-year-old daughter, it’s clear how life altering that moment was.

The singer/songwriter has been playing guitar since she was 10 and last year, with the help of her former guitar teacher, Branden Sipes, put out her own CD, many of her songs addressing her life as someone with developmental disabilities.

“I mostly write songs about my life and how I think it should be,” Amelia Booker said.

On Friday, she will perform songs from her solo CD, “Amelia Booker,” at Art for Arc, pairing up with guitar instructor Stephen Chignell for the event. The fundraiser will feature artworks by artists with and without developmental disabilities. Arc of Larimer County advocates for the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities, but it’s those such as Booker who can be their own best advocates.

“Amelia is a great example of how competent people with developmental disabilities can be,” said local Arc Executive Director Wendie Robinson. “She’s very positive and outgoing … and an accomplished musician and vocalist.

“Her music reflects on her life and how she views the world,” Robinson said. “It’s very inspirational.”

Booker’s thought-provoking lyrics and heartfelt music include song titles such as “Give Me a Chance” and “Believe,” demonstrating her determination and positivity.

“I hope to inspire other people,” Booker said. “Just don’t give up, just keep going and keep your head up. … I’ve gone through some rough patches, some rough times, in my life.”

Like any young woman, Booker is testing her independence. She holds two jobs – working at Arc as a part-time administrative assistant as well as a job in food service at Poudre School District. She lives at home but would like to try living on her own someday and is working to get her driver’s license.

But it is music that is her passion. While her focus is more on singer/songwriter and alternative rock styles, Booker said she enjoys all types of music. Eric Clapton is a favorite, worthy of several mentions as she talks about the music that inspires her. And like Clapton, Booker loves her guitars — she owns five — and also writes from the heart about the difficult times in her life. She wrote the song “Hard Time” about her mother’s triumphant battle with cancer several years ago.  Her song “My Way Back Home” deals with her own battles and the feeling of wanting to run away sometimes.

“You give kids the opportunity and then you wait and see what they do with it, and she’s been doing this for a long time,” Deborah Booker said. “She’s done well with it — she’s persevered. … It’s wonderful to watch her play and be so confident and sing so beautifully and know that she did it on her own.”

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