Candice Glover gives voice to life's key lessons

info@islandpacket.comMay 17, 2013 

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In the file photo, Candice Glover performs during a hometown concert in Beaufort in early May.

SARAH WELLIVER — File, Staff photo

Try to forget the music for a moment.

Only then can we appreciate the true high notes of St. Helena Island's Candice Glover winning the title of "American Idol" on national television Thursday night.

The Associated Press story from Los Angeles called the 23-year-old a "vocal powerhouse" and said she won the national singing contest and a record deal "with a flawless voice."

It is a voice that more than held its own when paired on Fox's torturously long finale show with Aretha Franklin and previous "American Idol" finalist and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson.

Call us pathetically biased, but it did seem from here that Candice stood head and shoulders above the rest, physically and musically.

But it is the soft-spoken Candice -- whom we still know back home as John and Carole Glover's first child, Albertha Middleton's granddaughter, Beaufort High School graduate and member of the Oaks True Holiness Church -- whose voice resonates loudest.

She comes from a large, rural sea island whose big names have included folk artist Sam Doyle and voodoo artist Dr. Buzzard. It's known for Frogmore Stew, tomatoes and shrimp burgers. It is best known as the home of Penn Center, started by Northern "missionaries" in 1862 to open a new world to African Americans freed on St. Helena before the Civil War ended slavery. Maybe that's why, a few generations later, Candice's victory has so much to offer if we will but listen.

She showed perseverance. When asked for a comment immediately after being announced the winner, all the sobbing "idol" could say was, "Three years." This was her third try with "American Idol." She was knocked down twice, but she got up three times. And when it was all done, she told a reporter backstage: "I always knew for some reason that it would happen if I kept going."

She believed in herself. As she survived cuts through the 12-week series, we saw Candice's confidence grow. Near the end of the journey, she said as much on stage. In interviews, she talked about a longtime, chronic problem with self-doubt. To be like Candice, we must address our weaknesses head on and believe in ourselves.

She aimed high. She dared to stick her neck into one of the nation's most watched competitions. She was singing around town and working on Fripp Island, renting scooters and golf carts. But she set a goal that was much higher. And in a way, she pulled the rest of us along, spurring a renewed sense of community pride. It showed up in Candice posters all over town, and in the bleary eyes of people not used to such things staying up past midnight to text in votes for the hometown girl.

She showed class. When others were eliminated on the show, Candice never hugged her fellow survivors before first comforting, almost mother-like, the disappointed one who was leaving.

And she showed courage. It literally brought tears to the eyes to see her stand on a podium, at center stage, in front of a large house, four caustic judges and 12 million television viewers, then close her eyes, grip a microphone and knock the ball over the fence, time after time. What courage.

Now our highest hope is that Candice Glover can seize the professional opportunities the win affords her, beginning with her debut album, "Music Speaks," and her debut single, "I Am Beautiful."

People on St. Helena know that life is full of flood tides and ebb tides. If Candice sticks to the qualities that got her to this point, she will do more than become the crab that escapes the pot, as her grandmother Middleton put it so beautifully. She will give voice to values that her community, and all others, need to hear.

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