Lebanon’s Music on Main Spring concert series always delivers on talent, but sometimes it delivers a little more behind the scenes that you might not notice.
This week’s performance will be Ava Paige. She lives in Mt. Juliet. She’s a touring musician and leukemia survivor. Oh yeah, and she’s only 16.
Paige said she’s been playing music since she was about 7 years old. She laughed and said that she started competitive dance when she was younger, but has no idea what happened to that, admitting that now she has “two left feet.”
For Paige, it was music and particularly guitar that stuck, and she knew she wanted to pursue it as a career by the age of 10.
Paige said the guitar is her main instrument, but that if it has strings on it, “She can probably figure it out.” She also writes her own songs, which tend to sway more towards country, although she has done some pop and Americana work.
It was actually while she was touring that she discovered she was sick. A couple days after performing for a children’s hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2019, she started feeling ill. Her mother, a retired nurse, could tell something was wrong, so they took her to have blood work and other tests done when they returned home.
Sure enough, there was something wrong. Paige had leukemia.
Since that time, it hasn’t always been easy. She developed side effects from treatment that made her sick, but she said she never got depressed, turning to music as inspiration to get through the trial she was facing.
In fact, one of her most cherished belongings is a guitar, signed by everybody that came to visit her while she was in the hospital.
Paige said that she’s technically in remission, but with leukemia it’s tricky because they can’t scan your whole bone marrow. She described her treatment as preventative but said that she still has roughly seven months before she can end chemotherapy.
She’s not letting any of that get in the way of her dreams. With area performances scheduled throughout the summer, there will be plenty of opportunities to catch her outside Lebanon’s Music on Main.
Paige is also a 2021 campaign ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network, and is partnering with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society — Tennessee Chapter to produce “Pick’n & Kick’n Cancer with Ava Paige benefiting “Girl of the Year” Campaign at Wheeler’s Raid Distillery in Nolensville on June 16 from 7-10 p.m.