Performer Spotlight - Makena Paramo
The 815 is proud to highlight the many talents of Makena Paramo. Makena is a graduating Senior who has delighted The 815 audiences with her lovely vocals as well as her impressive skills on the piano and harmonica.
Before The 815 existed, Makena's piano teacher, Heather King, was searching for a venue for her students to have an opportunity to perform. Makena says she still remembers her first time singing and accompanying herself on keyboard like it was yesterday. She was only in 8th grade at the time and the performance was at a small cafe in a local library. Soon Makena made her way to the Kidz Jam and The 815 stage and the rest is history. She has been performing as one of Heather's students for almost five years at various locations, including the Wine Bar, Tin Roof, 12 Handles, and The 815's newest location, Nevin's.
Makena has taken 11 years of piano lessons. Outside of piano lessons, she sings and plays piano when her hectic schedules allows her to do so. Makena taught herself how to play harmonica this year specifically for her memorable "Piano Man" performance.
Makena says that growing up, her mom always made it clear that it was important for her and her siblings to find something that brings them joy - whether it be music or a sport. Makena reflects that she is so grateful for her parents' encouragement and the opportunity they provided her to take piano lessons. While piano lessons were Makena's choice, she attributes much of her taste in music to her father. Most of her older song choices (Let it Be by the Beatles and Piano Man by Billy Joel) were because of her dad. She plans to continue bringing these older classics back when she can to introduce this music to younger generations.
This year, Makena graduates from high school. In her Senior year, she was involved in Orchesis - a dance club at her school. She also won two first place medals in SWSC competitions for her science club and she is a member of NHS. Makena is in the top ten percent of her class and received the Illinois State Scholar Award and AP Scholar with Honor award. There is no telling where her musical and academic talents will take her next!
In Makena's own words:
I love that The 815 has given me a positive environment to perform in every single month. Everyone that comes to these monthly events is always super supportive and encouraging. For the past five years, the opportunities I have had to perform have given me a sense of confidence I never thought I would be able to achieve and I am glad that I can share my music with so many people. I would like to give a big shout out and thank you to Heather for encouraging me to perform even when she knew it was completely out of my comfort zone. Without her, I never would have known this love I have for performing now.
Thank you, Makena, for sharing your joy with The 815 audiences over the years!