NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches woman who has no clear understanding about the Super Bowl was performing her music at one of several public pre-game parties going on this week in Houston Tuesday night.
The big event gives the music prodigy a reason to celebrate.
Pianist Martha Jhoana De Luna has performed publicly since childhood, but never ever has the church music director played before an audience that's celebrating a football game.
"I grew up in Dominican Republic, and I remember hearing that word, Super Bowl, so I was like, 'Oh, wow. Okay. Let's do it,'" said Martha Jhoana De Luna, a pianist, harpist, and singer.
Among hundreds of participants, De Luna auditioned to play at the music venue, Super Bowl Houston Live 2017. After a four-hour wait, De Luna's turn finally came. She let her fingers fly up and down the keyboard.
The composition was inspired by De Luna's celebration of a two-year recovery from a shoulder injury. She was no longer sidelined from her full potential as a pianist. The judge noticed.
"He just said, 'Bravo!'" De Luna said.
He then asked the name of the audition piece.
"And I said, 'It actually doesn't have a title," De Luna said. "And he said, 'Wow! It just feels like celebration. It's fantastic. It's amazing. I am blown away.' And he said that over and over."
No surprise, De Luna got the job and named the composition "Celebration."
The devout Christian then asked the judge if she could sing her repertoire of classical and hymns as well as play the harp.
"'You can do whatever you want,'" De Luna said. "Yes! Of course."
De Luna still had a valid concern.
"I was thinking, 'Okay, my music is different,'" De Luna said. "I don't know what they would think?"
De Luna got her answer at full rehearsal.
"One by one, first the judge, then the music director and then the sound check and people that work there they were just coming in and they were just amazed by, by that music," De Luna said. "And I said, 'This is going to be good.'"
As a child, De Luna's family didn't have a piano. For three years, the youngster with perfect pitch practiced on a table. A long list of winning competitions and a master's degree in harp performance at Stephen F. Austin State University followed. She gives all the glory to God when people embrace her music.
"I think because the world needs something like that," De Luna said.
De Luna knows the selections she'll play, but still is not so certain about that Super Bowl.
In response to a question about which teams will be playing, De Luna laughed and shook her head uncertainly.
"Oh my goodness," she said.
Martha De Luna performs tonight, Thursday and Saturday. She'll have her fans. Her church has a busload attending.