THE SUN WAS sinking below California's Pacific Ocean horizon Dec. 28, 1980, as John Mabry of Troy, N.C., fidgeted in the Ambassador Auditorium, anxiously awaiting to perform the piece he had practiced for so long: Brahms' Rhapsody in G Minor. In less than five minutes it would be over - the entire year of making himself go to the piano to perfect his difficult piece. Now it was up to the distinguished judges at this sixth annual YOU National Talent Contest to assess how well he had developed his talent. A fever was disrupting his concentration, but that wasn't going to stop him.
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