Somerville native honored for work, has goal of following in steps of famous cousin
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
A Somerville native is using her voice to make a difference in the world.
Sabrina Barringer, 22, has spent half of her young life singing for her family, friends and community. Her singing performances and her performance as a community volunteer recently earned Barringer the Golden Volunteer Award from President George W. Bush and the President's Council on Volunteerism.
"I was told I was being nominated, but I was totally surprised to learn I had won," Barringer explained. "I am so very honored by this award."
Her singing career began at age 11 when Barringer stood before the congregation at Valhermoso Holiness Church and sang "Amazing Grace."
"I told my mom one Sunday that I was going to sing," Barringer recalled. "She looked shocked, but she just said, 'OK.' I usually couldn't carry a tune in a bucket if someone was holding it for me, but I did really well that day. Everyone looked amazed."
Since that first performance, the songstress has used her soulful voice to sing country, pop, rock and gospel tunes for The Arc Chocolate Festival, Easter Seals, Old Farm Days, Hartselle Depot Days, St. Peter's Children's Home of Memphis, the Mental Health Foundation, and many more charitable organizations and events.
"Everyone wants to perform to get paid," Barringer said. "I want to make people feel good, to see their reaction and know they're having fun. That makes me feel better than getting paid. No matter what, I hope I can always volunteer to perform for charitable causes."
Barringer has even performed with her cousin, American Idol runner-up Bo Bice, at a St. Jude's Children's Hospital benefit concert and other local venues.
"I always knew there was a lot of talent in our family when I was growing up, but when I was younger I didn't think I had that talent," Barringer explained. "Bo has always been very encouraging and supportive of my singing. He encouraged me a lot to do what I felt in my heart, so I did."
Barringer also plans to make her own run at Idol fame at the end of this summer when she auditions in Memphis.
"I'm not nervous yet," Barringer said. "I'm more excited right now trying to get my songs together and my clothes.
"And, of course, Aunt Madgie (Bice's grandmother, Granny Madge Schofield) will make all of my clothes."
A graduate of Brewer High School, Barringer has also volunteered with the Morgan County Sheriff's Department as an Explorer and was hired after graduation as a dispatcher. The experience led her to a dispatch job with the Nashville Metro Police Department and the chance to live and perform in the Music City for two years.
"Nashville was a little too big for me," Barringer recalled. "There was a lot of competition there so it was hard to get a venue."
Although Barringer currently lives in Huntsville working as a property manager, she spends much of her free time visiting her family in Morgan County and sharpening her vocals at Steele's Karaoke and Event Center in Hartselle, where she was presented with the Golden Volunteer Award by longtime family friend Charles Langham.
"I try to make it to Steele's every weekend," Barringer said. "I hope to make it big one day, to be in concert. Maybe even sing duets with Bo."