This past year local artist, Lexi Walker, 11, has impressed many, not only in the state of Utah, but throughout the world. Especially after her YouTube performance of "Let It Go" with Alex Boyé went viral.
But most recently, Lexi received the opportunity to be the first guest performer at the children's music competition in Japan.
The annual event was held March 1 and included performers from kindergarten through eighth grade, coming from around 1,700 different schools.
"The opera hall performance was beautiful and the other performing groups were beyond anything we have seen from other young musicians," Lisa Walker, Lexi's mother, told the Deseret News.
"It was an honor to be there. To have Lexi share a concert with such incredibly talented people is an experience she won't ever forget."
Lexi was invited after a woman from Bountiful shared videos of Lexi's performances with her contacts in Matsumoto City, Japan. The Walker family was contacted, and Lexi quickly learned a song to perform in Japanese called "Hurusato," which was arranged by Masa Fukuda and accompanied at the opera house by Takana Miyamoto.
"Even though I didn't speak the same language, I felt welcomed," Lexi said. "To me, music is the bridge between our two cultures and it made it easy to communicate."
During their time in Japan, Lexi and her mother also visited an elementary school where the school band had prepared to play an American folk medley for her. Lexi and Miyamoto then performed a mini concert for the kids.
"Funny thing," Lisa Walker said, "you have to take your shoes off at the school and put on slippers. Lexi said she can cross of 'perform in slippers' from her bucket list now."
Although it was impossible to communicate verbally with most of the people Lexi met, it was through music that she was able to make immediate connections.
"There isn't anything I could say to a complete stranger that would illicit such a strong emotional response like Lexi does when she sings," Lisa Walker said.
"Her favorite part of performing has always been meeting new people, appreciating their talents and learning new things. Japan did that and more. Music bridges cultural gaps and speaks a language that is universal. It makes people feel something that resonates from inside, no matter what language they speak."
After returning home, Lexi expressed her gratitude for the opportunity and her hopes for visiting Japan again.
"I was super-excited to go to Japan, even though I didn't know if it would actually happen," Lexi said. "Now that I've gone, I can't wait to go back because everyone there was really nice and the food was awesome!"
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company