Calvert Idols Finalists Show Some Extraordinary Talent

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Calvert Idols Finalists Show Some Extraordinary Talent


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By Robyn Truslow

The Calvert Library and the Garrett Music Academy hosted RU Calvert’s Next Idol and the young talent in Calvert County came out of the woodworks.  Auditions were held on July 24 at the Calvert Library Prince Frederick with over 50 contestants competing. The youth competed by age category and the top performers went on to compete at the Finals on July 31. 

There were five competitors in the ages 6 to 9 category for the Finals: Angela Arnold, Delaney Guldseth, Unique Keemer, Sabrina Pearson and Michaila Shahan. With a crowd of close to 400, these young people had to be brave as well as talented…and they were.

Emily Bowen, one of the judges was heard to say, “If they are this good now, imagine how impressive they’ll be in a few years.”

Delaney Guldseth walked away with the first place prize in this category. She will get to create a demo recording in a professional studio as well as have a professional photo shoot as will the other winners.  She wowed the crowd with her sweet voice and near perfect performance of ‘This is Me.’ 

The tween category ( 10 to 13 years old) had seven contestants in the Finals: Shane Colgan, Regan Hall, Andre Jones, Sully Newsom, Michaela Pitcher, Amber Velasquez, and Brandi Wightman. A wide variety of musical styles was represented in the selections from heartbreaking vintage Michael Jackson (Shane Colgan) to an edgy and powerful Leann Rimes song (Regan Hall).

The winner in the tween category was a musical prodigy seen performing all over Calvert, Andre Jones.  He accompanied himself on the keyboard while singing Jamie Foxx’s ‘Heaven.’  His performance showcased his versatility and innate musical intelligence.

The largest group of performers was the teens, ages 14 to17 with eight performers selected to participate in the Finals: Alex Cooper, Caitlan Fagan, Marleigh Ferguson, Naquan Holland, Jacqueline Pleasant, Alissa Pruitt, Jackie Reading and Jamie Schaefer. Again, the talent made for a great show and the audience got into the performances. Jacqueline Pleasant took the prize in this category with her top-notch performance of Fergie’s stylistically difficult and sophisticated ‘Finally.’  

The Finals had four judges with strong music backgrounds. In fact, there were two producers judging; Tom Dahrens from Nashville and Patrick “Drail” Brooks from Southern Maryland.

Dahrens, also a music writer, has produced dozens of artists in Nashville and worked in the area’s most prestigious studios. Brooks has been producing artists since 2006 and has been hailed as one of the area’s most talented rappers and producers.

Acclaimed songwriter and Grammy nominee Paul Christensen who has over 35 years in the music industry, including writing movie scores and music for commercials and documentaries, was a judge at both the auditions and finals.  Widely performing vocalist Emily Bowen made up the remainder of the judges’ team.

If you missed the event, you can see samples of the performances of all the competitors on Calvert Library’s Flickr site which you can access through  Start making plans for next year because RU Calvert’s Next Idol is sure to be renewed for the next season.  For more information, call Beverly Izzi at (410) 535-0291. 

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