Sara Hickman, a nationally acclaimed musician, rolled into San Marcos to strum out the tunes that won her the title, “Musician of Texas,” from the Texas Legislature, Wednesday night.
Hickman laughed and performed to audience members in an intimate folk music presentation at the Price Seniors Center as part of the Encore University Performing Arts Series.
Tim Mottet, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, said Hickman was selected to perform by Catherine Supple, who appreciates people willing to share their talent with others.
Hickman started the night off with a lullaby she wrote to soothe her daughter as a baby.
“She had been crying all night and I was completely exhausted. I just told God, ‘you got to help me’,” Hickman said. “Suddenly a song came to me, and at the end I asked God to help me remember it so she wouldn’t cry again.”
Throughout the performance she discussed her family and all the songs inspired by their memories.
“Sometimes I like to be conversational and funny, like Robin Williams,” Hickman said. “I think of performing as a rollercoaster, you have high exciting points and low, emotional points.”
She later introduced a song written for a girl with leukemia and talked about her interactions with the girl.
“After writing the song for her, I realized all songs belong to everyone,” Hickman said. “Whether you like it or not is the question.”
Hickman ended the first half of the performance with a song that was inspired by writing in a bathroom stall.
“Someone had written ‘I know what it means’ on the stall door, and I turned around looking for what she was talking about,” Hickman said. “It led me to write about what life means and everything that revolves around it.”
Mike Cogliandro, traveled from San Antonio to see Hickman perform. He said Hickman plays a variety of genres, from children’s songs to punk rock.
Hickman said she usually plays loud and exciting music in larger venues, but focused on low-key, story-telling songs for Wednesday’s performance.
“I see the audience as a group of strangers, at the end of tonight I want them to be like family,” she said.
Hickman was recognized as a Musician of Texas last year, an honor shared by Willie Nelson, and has released two albums under the titles: “Best of Times” and “Family Times Rock.”
Hickman donated the proceeds from “Best of Times” to the Theatre Action Project, which works to build up theater and art departments in Central Texas schools.
“I asked the legislature what I needed to do with this title, and they didn’t really say anything,” Hickman said. “So I decided to be pro-active and build up what they took out of schools.”
Hickman kept the audience entertained, even creating an impromptu song about an audience member’s socks.
“You know a musician has mastered her talent when she can interact with the audience like Sara did,” Mottet said. “She has reminded us of what it takes to develop a talent, and the value each talent has.”