Sometimes chances come once in a lifetime. Sometimes chances are made.

Liz Cozart is determined to make her own luck.

Less than four months after a throat surgery that had doctors saying she would not sing for half a year or more, Liz, 16, auditioned to sing the national anthem for a Denver Broncos home game.

She didn't snag one of the eight slots for the upcoming season, but was invited back for auditions at Invesco Field next year.

"I didn't go for the super high note like I should have," Liz said.

What started off like a cold in February led to missing a week of school before she started to have trouble breathing and was rushed to the emergency room, where two cysts on her tonsils that closed her airway had to be drained and removed.

While she was able to talk again a couple days after the surgery, Liz said she has a lisp for a while and still is not 100 percent.

"I'm still having problems," she said.

Everything in her life, it seems, relates back to singing.

From the Cozart family home on Michael Grove, Liz talked about how weight lifting improves balance and running improves lung capacity.

A project for a business course at the high school was just one more chance to learn another aspect of the music industry.

‘We had to start our own company," Liz said. "I chose a record company."

And according to Liz's teacher on the project, her company would be a success based on drive and the strength of business plan.

From a kindergarten solo singing "Broadway Baby" dressed in a big hat, feather boa and her mother's shoes, Liz sought the spotlight.

"She's always been a ham and a performer," Liz's mother Catherine Cozart said.

Performance, though, is not all about being in front of an audience. Liz also spent time on a stage crew, learning behind-the-scenes aspects of productions such as lighting and sound design.

Though the Cozarts have only been in Bozeman one year, they may be moving on soon, for Liz's sake.

"We're looking at different options because she's really shooting for a high-powered musical college," Catherine said.

In order to expand her opportunities for schools such as the University of Memphis and Duquesne University, Catherine is helping Liz find a high school with a focus on music to finish out her senior year.

It helps that Catherine's side of the family is filled with musicians, and as a mother she is empathetic and encouraging of her daughter's dreams.

Catherine's role has evolved to include vocal coach and part-time manager, helping Liz find the right schools and apply to be the next teenage Disney star. Looking back though, Liz's desire to sing may have been an inevitability.

"She learned how to read music before she learned how to read," Catherine said.

Rachel Hergett may be reached at or 582-2603.