Sewickley 8-year-old proves she can rock

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 10:20 a.m.

Miralhi Taylor-Martin of Sewickley said she thinks Rock Academy of Pittsburgh made the right choice when they allowed her and her band to enroll.

The 8-year-old Edgeworth Elementary third-grader said the members of her group, Crazy 8's, are the youngest students of the academy.

“Usually, it's 12 and older,” her mother, Heather said. “So, they really went out on a limb when they let them in.”

Since Miralhi and her band enrolled, the group has performed at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Hard Rock Cafe at Station Square and Fern Hollow Nature Center's Rockin' at the Hollow.

In addition, Miralhi recorded her first song, “Miralhi's Wonderful World,” her own version of Louis Armstrong's “It's a Wonderful World,” after hearing it only once at the end of the movie “Madagascar.”

The song is the last track on “Spaceship Earth,” a new CD by Dan Kincaid of Aleppo, who played the guitar for her and recorded the song in Miralhi's dining room.

Although Miralhi said she has always loved to sing, she never thought she would record a song or be part of a band.

It all started when her friend, Luke Flowers of Sewickley got angry because his two brothers were in a band and he wasn't, she said.

Luke, also 8 and an Edgeworth Elementary third-grader, is a son of Gretchen Flowers, a Rock Academy School instructor, who started to gather some boys together to start another band.

“And, she wanted a girl singer. So, she asked my music teacher, Mr. K. (Eric Kolodziej) who would be a good girl singer, and he said me,” Miralhi said.

“So, then we just said, ‘Ok, when is everyone available to meet,' and we all said Monday.”

This school year, they are meeting on Wednesdays in the Flowers home, which houses a music studio.

Heather said when students register for the Rock Academy, they are matched up with other children based on their ability, but because the Crazy 8's members are so young, they were permitted to pair up on their own.

Other members of the group are Nicholas Straka, Hayden Earlwine, the only 9-year-old fourth-grader, and Kyle Hammond, all Edgeworth Elementary students.

Miralhi said she doesn't really mind being the only girl in the group, except when the boys all wrestle in the other room before practice starts.

“Then I kind of just stand there and go, ‘OK.'”

Miralhi said she was “definitely” nervous the first time the band performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in March with two other bands. She sang “I Love Rock ‘n' Roll,” and “Seven Nation Army” and dressed in a sparkly top, leggings and skirt, and big black boots. Before that show, she said, her only experience singing was with her music class in school and with the choir at Sewickley Presbyterian Church.

“They did really well for their first time ever to be performing for so many people at such a grand setting,” her mother said.

“I think it's pretty amazing that they are so young but able to process what music is and stand up in front of that many people and let it fly. To hear her do that is pretty cool.”

At the band's second gig at the Hard Rock Cafe in spring, Miralhi said she was less nervous and wore a T-shirt, jeans and “cool” scarf.

“All my friends and family were there, so I felt more comfortable,” she said.

The band performed at Rockin' at the Hollow this summer, and will play again at Hard Rock Cafe the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Although Heather admits she is “tone deaf,” she said her husband, Josh, has a master's degree in directing and has sung in the church choir and in several musicals in Mississippi and Nebraska. The family moved to Sewickley from West Virginia about five years ago. Miralhi is the big sister to brother, Milo, 4.

Miralhi said she will continue singing with her band as long as can, although she's not sure what the band will call itself when they all turn 9.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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