The Treasure of Greater Latrobe


Gabrielle Carroll, Staff Writer, Editor

Sarah grew up with the love of music. She’s been in choir, whether it was in church or in school, since she was four years old. She’s a member in the chamber choir, an elite acapella group, at Greater Latrobe High School, and she says that choir helps her become a more rounded performer and writer. 

Singing isn’t the only music that’s a part of her life. Sarah’s been taking piano lessons since the first grade and now plays the guitar. Music has been in her life from a very young age and she is determined to pursue it in the future as a career.

“I just can’t even imagine my life without music!” she said.

 Music may be a big part of Sarah’s life, but religion is her main focus and where her passion lies. She grew up the youngest of three siblings raised in a Christian household and church. 

“It influences every part of who I am, everything that I do, especially in probably the last two years, just as I’m growing up and growing in my faith.” she said.

Since religion is the biggest part of Sarah’s life, it directly inspires her music. Her songs are what connect her to God. Sarah is a worship leader at her churches, Charter Oak and Word of Life, and plans to continue in the future. This has a big impact on how she writes and songs.

“Part of leading worship is, obviously you’re in the spirit and you’re worshiping and you’re praying, but me personally, instead of praying when I’m worshipping, I sing.” Sarah said, “I’m kind of writing different melodies as I’m talking to god. That’s how I communicate with him when I’m worshipping. I’m either writing to communicate to god or to communicate to god’s people how they should live for him. I think of it as a conversation more than anything.”

Sarah’s deep connection to god and religion is the biggest part of who she is. And because of this, she has written a number of songs. But for most, she wouldn’t consider them to be as amazing as “My Treasure.” 

“Well part of my piano lessons is we learn different music. So we learn how to improvise, we learn how to find chords in music. So as soon as I kind of knew how to do that I was writing songs, and they were not good! Even up until I wrote ‘My Treasure,’ they were just terrible! And I would spend, even when I was in junior high and even during my freshman year, I would spend hours on writing songs and I would be like ‘Yeah this is great let’s go!’ And then by the end of it I would just be like, ‘this is terrible, I hate this,’ and I’d throw it away! And no one has ever heard anything that I’ve ever written before this one, so this was like a miracle moment that was like a good one! Finally! So I don’t know what made this one different but I actually liked it this time around.”

One of Sarah’s favorite Christian bands since she was a kid is Casting Crowns. The band played at the York Fair where her grandparents lived. She expressed how she adored the meaningful and powerful words of the lead singer, Mark Hall, and how that live concert inspired her to go home and write down the thoughts in her mind. 

“I’m definitely a writer, I’ve always felt like there’s impact in words. Your word choice is so important. It’s crazy how you can just flip a sentence around and make it a little bit more passionate or make it pull a little more on your heart strings. You can do so much, so I’ve always found words so important.”

Because writing is something Sarah loved to do, and was good at,  it was easy for her to write down all the things that were important and that she was just realizing on her computer in her grandparents living room.

“I still have the document, it’s like three pages long of just stuff that was in my head,” said Sarag, “And a tiny part of a section of that document was exactly what the lyrics were taken from. The fact that we are not copies, we are 100% unique and original.”

Fitting in and feeling unique is something that Sarah struggled with growing up, even though she’s a ray of sunshine and so positive.

“All my life I felt like there was nothing special about me, that every part of me was borrowed from other people. And everything about me was just unoriginal, and that’s just not true! Another part of the song is just because we have that view of ourselves, we don’t allow ourselves to say yes to what God has planned for us. And so the intent behind the song was almost like a love letter to myself, but also a love letter to the people who are feeling like that.”

Sarah wants people to hear God’s voice more than anything. She explained how every lyric of the song is straight from scripture and a truth, to her, that people needed to hear. 

Sarah never expected to write something with such intensity as “My Treasure.” Her coach, Lisa, who’s she’s been training with for five years, was the one who wanted Sarah to share “My Treasure” with the world. 

Sarah met Lisa when her dance teacher started a class at her old dance studio for people who wanted to take voice lessons. After that class, everything just continued. Sarah ended up taking lessons privately with Lisa from there.

“It’s kind of crazy because five years ago, when I was still at my dance studio and still at Charter Oak, I actually transferred over to Lisa’s church. She has kind of seen me grow, not only vocally, but just as a person and through my faith,” she said.

She trusted Lisa’s judgement when she told Sarah that she needed to record her song. Sarah was shocked when Lisa loved “My Treasure” because of how different it was.

“She always told me, ‘You always pick these big power ballads to work on and these big loud songs, and it’s almost as if you’re trying to make people hear you. But the fact that you wrote something like this and that you’re willing to perform something like this speaks volumes to your character growth because you’re not fighting to be heard anymore.’ And that was just a really special thing and I feel like I’ll always remember her telling me that.”

Lisa asked Sarah to perform the song at an event at the church called Kids to Last. The theme was “Your Treasure by God.” Obviously, this coincidence was the perfect chance to debut the song. Although she had never thought she’d have the confidence to do something like that, the young singer agreed. Sarah committed to the marching band the night of the event, so she couldn’t do a live performance. Lisa suggested she film a music video and air it. Sarah was beyond excited! She was singing a song she wrote for a crowd and now she’s filming a music video and posting her piece online! The two camera guys who she worked with for the video used to work for the Pittsburgh Penguins, which was a crazy experience for her. 

She sang the song for the first time in August and the event wasn’t until the end of October, so they filmed around the beginning of October at the church, Word of Life. Billy and Dan, the cameramen, had huge plans for the set up for the videos, but Sarah was more focused on solidifying her song and getting her message across. During the event, the video was played during an altar call, where little kids were accepting Jesus into their hearts. This was a special moment to be a part of for Sarah. 

After they played the video at the event, Sarah said Billy told her that she would be changing people’s lives, and not just at the church, but all over. The final video was posted on YouTube for anyone and everyone to see. 

“Of course I reposted the link to my Instagram and Facebook, so everyone was watching it and it was, it was crazy! To think that from the first moment I wrote it thinking that it was just going to be for me, and now all of these people are texting me and messaging me and commenting on my stuff telling me how they were impacted. And that’s my favorite thing to hear, more than the ‘oh- you- sound- so- good,’ and ‘oh- your- singing- is- great.’ I want to hear how that impacted you and how that changed you. There was so much of that and I was really grateful for that,” she said.

A high school sophomore like Sarah Hoffman can have such a big impact on people all around the world. She is a rare talent who deserves to be brought to the limelight. Everyone can take something from her music, and she will never stop sharing her faith and words for people to hold onto.