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home : features : features May 25, 2016

6/11/2013 10:24:00 AM
Locals advance to final round of singing competition
Maya Caldwell advanced to the final round of the Northern Arizona’s Got Talent competition last month. Submitted photo
Maya Caldwell advanced to the final round of the Northern Arizona’s Got Talent competition last month. Submitted photo

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

When it comes to singing, Williams residents Angelina Howe and Maya Caldwell have talent. They proved it by earning spots in the finals of the Northern Arizona's Got Talent competition last month.

Howe and Caldwell were two of six people in their age group to compete in the finals on May 29 at the Orpheum Theater in Flagstaff. Howe and Caldwell competed in the 19 and older category, with the other two age groups being 8-12 and 13-18.

The city of Flagstaff put on the competition, which started with about 42 contestants. Three people judged the competition and the winner received $500.

Howe and Caldwell advanced from the first round May 8 and the second round May 22 to qualify for the finals.

Caldwell, who teaches kindergarten at Williams-Elementary Middle School, earned second place in the competition and won a digital camera.

"It was a lot of fun and it was just really good for me to work on my stage presence," she said of the competition. "Words can't even describe how happy the event was and how heartwarming it was to just have so many people there to support from our town."

Caldwell started singing at age 10, when she played Sebastian the Crab in "The Little Mermaid." She has also sung in choirs for most of her life.

Although Caldwell competed in Prescott Idol a few years ago, she hasn't been as involved in music since having kids. But her love of singing convinced her to enter Northern Arizona's Got Talent.

Caldwell sang "Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin for her audition, "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys for the semifinals and "At Last" by Etta James for the finals.

"I just picked songs that I thought were really soulful and that showed some vocal range and songs that I'd enjoy performing," she said.

Caldwell called the competition a neat experience, and said she will enter again next year.

"Now I've got a whole year to prepare to try and win first place," she said.

In the meantime, Caldwell will work on song writing. A few years ago Caldwell made a 10-song CD. Now Caldwell and a collaborator are writing some new material that is a mix of country and soul.

"This experience just kind of gave me that boost and a little bit of confidence to kind of help me put myself out there musically again, because it's been a long time," she said. "It gave me the renewed energy to work on that."

In the future, she hopes to record the music and perform it around town.

Caldwell will also perform and judge at the Summer Splash Rec Program talent show on July 18.

Since the judges only revealed the top two singers, Howe is unsure of how she finished other than in the top 6.

Howe has been singing since she was 11, but has never taken singing lessons. After Howe's boss at Days Inn told her about the competition, she decided to try out.

Howe sang "Call Me When You're Sober" by Evanescence for her audition, "You Lost Me" by Christina Aguilera in the semifinals and "Hurt" by Christina Aguilera in the finals.

"I know that they are really good powerful songs, and I have a good powerful voice, so I was able to show it off a little bit," she said of her song selections.

Howe has sung at the Sultana Theater in the past, but the competition was her first experience singing in front of a large audience.

"I get nervous right before, but as soon as I start singing, all of it goes away," she said. "I love the way it feels to be on stage."

Howe said after finishing in the top six this year, she will work on her vocals and enter the competition again next year.

"It was a really good experience, I had a lot of fun," she said. "It just showed me that I can keep practicing, and to never stop singing, is what one of the judges told me."

If any of the national televised singing competitions scheduled auditions in Phoenix, Howe said she would try out for those as well. She auditioned for America's Got Talent in Los Angeles in 2011.

"It makes me want to try out for more different kinds of competitions and hopefully succeed in those ones," she said.

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