Dixie’s Got Talent finalists announced

ST. GEORGE – After a long and intensive audition process, the top 15 finalists of Dixie’s Got Talent 2013 have been announced, along with three Battle of the Bands finalists.

The show will be held in the Cox Auditorium on the Dixie State College of Utah campus Jan. 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. Winners are selected by audience votes and will receive a recording session with Spiral Studios, a scholarship to Dixie State and other prizes.

Dixie’s Got Talent! is a fundraiser for needs-based scholarships at the college. Every ticket holder gets a vote.

For your consideration, the finalists appear below with photos and biographical information.

Dixie’s Got Talent finalists

Amanda Young

Amanda Young

Born in Provo and raised in St. George, Amanda Young is a fun-loving, laid-back girl who taught herself to play guitar at age 13.  She is excited to be part of Dixie’s Got Talent and plans to audition for NBC’s “The Voice” in February. The daughter of Darren Young and Deborah Young, her father’s recent passing has inspired her to pursue her music career with renewed vigor. She feels he’ll be watching her every step of the way.

Amy Camp Leany

Amy Camp Leany

In the 1970s, Camp Leany was a typical girl, singing into her hairbrush and imitating such beloved artists as Karen Carpenter and Barbra Streisand. Music has always been a passion in her life; she has sung in the bush of Australia, the Alps of Switzerland, the beaches of Hawaii, the mountains of Canada, along the curvy road of England and floating on a ship in the Caribbean. She tries to use the gift of her voice to uplift the spirits of others. She is enthusiastic about continuing to learn about music and enjoying her talent for the rest of her life.

Avonlea Dalley

Avonlea Dalley

A senior at Dixie High School, Dalley loves to sing, act, dance and perform for an audience. Her onstage experience began at age three and has earned her the roles of Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera,” Cosette in “Les Misérables,” Kitty in “The Drowsy Chaperone” and Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.” After graduating, she plans on going to college to earn a degree in Choral Music Education and serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is very grateful for the support of her family and friends, especially her father, who has been her lifelong vocal coach.

Cameron Hansen

When Hansen was a toddler, he heard violin music in church and told his mother, “Mommy, I want to play that instrument.” His uncle found an old violin in his attic, but it was too big for the youngster to play. His family then found him a smaller violin and he began taking lessons from the very same woman who had played in the church. At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Hansen studied under Wei Wei Le and had the honor of being chosen to play for the world-renowned violinist Midori. He recently returned from serving a mission, where he took his violin and supplemented his message by playing for all to enjoy.

Daniel Roberts Group

Daniel Roberts Group

The group is comprised of vocalist Aaron Meadows and guitarist Todd Purcell.

Meadows has been performing professionally since age 13 and is a member of the Odyssey Dance Company. He was previously the lead singer and lyricist for the pop-rock band Coastline Ending, based in Connecticut.  He is currently a senior at DSC.

Purcell was born and spent the first few years of his life in the countryside of southern Japan. He received his first guitar at age 16; his other hobby is quilting, and his first creation recently debuted at a massive quilting convention in Houston, Texas. Purcell’s dream is to remain active in music for life, until he is an old man, sitting on the back porch in his rocking chair and serenading his grandchildren.

Dynamic Duo

Dynamic Duo

Singer Brynlee McLaren Wright and pianist Blake Hofheins, both age 11, form the Dynamic Duo. McLaren Wright enjoys performing in her school choir, dancing and playing soccer and dodgeball; Hofheins plays Little League baseball for the Southern Utah Sports Club. They have grown a lot while learning new songs and practicing together for Dixie’s Got Talent.

Inception

Inception

No information submitted.

Jeffrey Elggren

Jeffrey Elggren

A native of St. George, Elggren is currently an eighth grader at Pine View Middle School. He has been dancing since he could walk and has participated on a competitive hip-hop team for the past two years. He has been called a “natural” dancer and claims to be able to learn any routine simply be watching other dancers. Additionally, he has played several theatre roles, including the cat in “Seussical the Musical,” Lumiere in “Beauty and the Beast” and Kurt von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.”

Jesse Barraclough

Jesse Barraclough

The 14-year-old Barraclough discovered his love for music early, through his father’s work as an instrument repairman at a music store. He has been hooked on piano for five years, playing everything from Beethoven to Billy Joel and mixing various genres into his own unique style. He currently offers his talents at parties and weddings. His friends describe him as an “insane” musician; he hopes to share his music around the world one day.

Jillian Durham

Jillian Durham

A lifelong lover of music, Durham’s theatre career began at age 10 when her mother encouraged her to audition for a local production of “The Sound of Music.” She was cast as Brigitta and has since gathered vast experience in a number of plays and musicals. She is a senior at DSC and a mother of two beautiful children with the “best husband ever.” She is grateful and excited to have the opportunity to perform in Dixie’s Got Talent.

John Stubbs

John Stubbs

Stubbs began playing guitar at age 17, but the advancement of his musical career was hampered by extreme stage fright, which he has gradually overcome; he now enjoys reaching out to others. His style was influenced by artists including Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz and John Mayer. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Brigham Young University, a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology from the University of Utah and currently works for the Washington County School District. He has been married for five years and has a two-year-old son and another on the way.

Jolene Taylor

Jolene Taylor

A native of California, Taylor spent hours as a child listening to artists anywhere from Donna Summer to Debbie Boone while writing her own songs. In college, she joined a band called Ritmo de la Noche, which performed Latin music, blues and jazz. She also fell in love with gospel music through attending church with her grandmother. A senior at the University of Phoenix, she is married and has two spunky dogs that keep her and her husband entertained. She loves songs that tell a story and looks forward to sharing her favorite ones as a contestant.

Liv McCune

Liv McCune

Since her first public performance at age 4, McCune feels right at home in front of an audience. She is a singer, dancer and deceptively quick striker on the soccer field. Her present ambition is to cajole her father into letting her have as many animals as possible and she also dreams of inspiring others through music. She is 11-years-old and a student as Fossil Ridge Intermediate School.

Payton Kemp

Payton Kemp

A native of Orem, Kemp’s singing talent was first discovered by his grandmother when he was a toddler. He won the role of Young Tarzan in Tuacahn’s production of “Tarzan” at age 9, where he enjoyed performing in front of a live audience and working with some of the best choreographers, directors, dancers and actors in the business. Aside from music, he plays football and basketball and has learned that balance is important in life.

Rosalyne Savala

Rosalyne Savala

Savala has been dancing for the Pizazz Dance Group for ten years; she served as co-captain for two years, student coach for three years and currently serves as technique coach. She was also awarded Inspirational Dancer of the Year twice. A student at Pine View High School, she wants to be a dental hygienist and eventually open a dance studio.

Battle of the Bands finalists

Matt McDermott

Matt McDermott

McDermott is a California-born and Utah-raised musical prodigy who taught himself piano at age eight, guitar at age 11 and has been writing his own music since his teenage years. He currently participates in the Lieto community choir. A newlywed, he hopes to eventually attend the renowned Berklee College of Music to apply his passion for having a career in music while providing for his family. He competes in the competition with Eli Sabatis, 14, on drums, and Gregg McDermott, owner of local Utah Dixie Rentals, on bass guitar.

My Brother the Carpenter

This six-piece “family band” is comprised of lead singer Alexa Thompson, guitarist Jeremy Garcia, guitarist Ean Brandon, trumpet and bass player Miles Manwaring, drummer Holden Thatcher and lyricist Stefan D. Taylor. Upon meeting the boys, Thompson decided that they should form a group and tour Southern Utah. Each member shares a passion for music and Taco Bell.

Pangea

Pangea

This multi-instrumental band is composed of guitarist and pianist Isaac Gish, pianist, bass and French horn player Jeff Ostler, guitarist Kyle Lyman, guitarist and tambourine player Thomas Valdez and drummer Tyson Christensen. Each are native to the St. George area and have a long history in music.

Event details and contact information

Date: Jan. 23 and 24

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Cox Auditorium, DSC campus

Admission: Advance purchase $10, general admission $12, DSC students $5, children under age 12 $5

Contact: DSC Box Office – 435-652-7800

Event flyer

Ed. Update Jan 9, 2013: Contestant Matt McDermott was first reported in this article as a one-man-band, upon his advise to St. George News, two band members who will play with him have been added.

Email: avmorgan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Matt McDermott January 9, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    I just wanted to make sure that the article be totally correct. Matt McDermott is not a one man band. I hope the other key members of the band who support Matt will also get credit for all they do. Eli Sabaitis is 14 yrs old and is playing drums. And Gregg McDermott, owner of local Utah Dixie Rentals, is playing bass guitar. Great article. >Thanks for writing.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic January 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Very gracious of you Mr. McDermott, we will so update the report.
      St. George News | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor-in-Chief

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