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Local girl dreams of stardom

There is Hank Williams Jr. Martina McBride. The Dixie Chicks. Garth Brooks.

The names resound a familiar tone to country music lovers everywhere.

But look out, there may be a new country superstar on the way.

At 17, Selma’s Courtney Chance stands just 4 feet 6 inches tall. Chance was born premature. At the time of her birth, the doctors predicted she had only a 5 percent chance of living.

Chance survived, and through a variety of ways, now helps others who were born premature to gain a new perspective on their lives.

Besides playing the violin and playing softball, Chance has discovered another love, a love that, she says, soothes her soul, and

makes her feel true &uot;happiness.&uot;

That love is country music. Lately, Chance has had several big breaks in the country music industry, which she hopes will lead to bigger and better things.

The first real big break, recalled Chance, was when she decided to record some of her own songs on a CD, and then sent them to country music superstar Martina McBride.

Chance asked McBride to listen to the songs, and then for McBride to sign a picture of herself, then send it back to Chance, saying if &uot;she liked the songs.&uot;

Chance received an autographed picture of McBride, telling her &uot;the songs were good.&uot;

Then came another big break. After seeing an add in The Times-Journal, advertising a talent search in Nashville, Chance made the trip over, hoping to be chosen as one of the finalists.

After sitting through many acts &045; including, as she recalled, &uot;some pretty bad ones&uot; &045;&045; the big moment finally came.

Already chosen as one of the finalists, Chance took the stage at 1:30 in the morning, tired and weary, but still ready to go.

Chance received a country music recording contract, and now has the chance to record three songs at a recording studio in Nashville.

Having arecording contract means the label pays some of the costs, while the artists must also pay their share.

To raise her share of the money, $3,000, Chance has taken on another responsibility in life besides singing and softball. That responsibility is babysitting.

Chance knows that making the big time in country music is still a long shot, with or without a recording contract. But it hardly matters. For her, it really comes down to one thing.

Chance is also asking for donations from local residents to help pay her recording costs. Those who wish to make donations can contact Chance at 875-4090.