Impressive local talent for great cause
‘The Voice’ singers raise the roof in Towaoc
A rising star, just 12 years old, won the hearts and ears of the audience and judges during a stellar solo performance at The Voice competition finals held at the Ute Mountain Casino.
Jumping up and down with a heartwarming smile and a flushed look of disbelief, Shania Pribble, of Dove Creek, was awarded first place out of 11 finalists, earning a $500 cash prize, time in a recording studio, and an opening act for the Harvest Festival.
“I am so happy and excited. It was so much fun,” Pribble said moments after winning Wednesday night. “This is my second competition. I was in the Cortez American Idol, also.”
A crowd of family and friends swarmed around the young singer, who put on a confident performance beyond her years, singing a Shania Twain song, “Any Man of Mine,” and a unique folk classic, “Cups (When I’m Gone).”
Brad Sitton took second place, impressing the crowd with a smooth rendition of Boston’s “It’s Been Such a Long Time,” nailing a crowd-pleasing, wailing vibrato to finish the song.
And Jill Carlson’s booming and melodic voice took third place, belting out a bluesy Janis Joplin tune that was spot on.
The family event was a fundraiser for the Piñon Project’s Family Resource Center.
Executive Director Kelli Willis plans to organize the event again next year.
“There is a lot of talent, and I hear karaoke is pretty big around here. I have to especially give credit to the kids,” she said. “The Voice is a good fundraiser because people are familiar with it and it is an easy idea to market. A special thanks to the Ute Mountain Casino for all their help and donations.”
Craig Crippen and his daughter, Caroline Crippen, made it to the finals. Craig did a low-key dance routine to his song.
“My wife heard about it on the radio, and so we signed up,” he said. “It was fun practicing a lot with the family, and in the car on the way to work.”
Daughter Caroline, 9, showed courage and talent during her performance of the song “Colors of the Wind.”
“Great stage presence,” said judge Wanda Martin.
“You worked hard and it shows,” said judge Ellis Miller.
Caroline will be back, she said, and seemed satisfied to win a cooler with wheels given out as a door prize.
“I was hoping for the $500, but it was still fun,” she said.
Contestants all sang a solo 3-minute piece to music, karaoke style. Four judges cut it to six, and then those contestants sang another song. The audience of about 60 voted for the winner.
Camaraderie among contestants, entertaining performances and support for a good cause left everyone in good spirits after the event.
“This is all about helping families, single moms and dads, and children,” Willis said. “All of you have made the Piñon Project strong, so thank you for coming out tonight.”
Jimmy McClain and emcee Dave Hart implored the audience to volunteer as mentors for the Piñon Project clients.
“We need more male mentors, especially, to support families and kids,” McClain said. “I did it, and it changed my life.”
As adults wandered out to try their luck in the casino, Pribble’s friends Bob and Terri Luna said they were not surprised at her success.
“We have hunting parties and she gets up in front of 30 to 40 people singing her songs. She is not bashful and has raw talent,” Bob said.
The 11 finalists were Marinda Eubanks, James Salzbrenner, Halle Kline, Shania Pribble, Brad Sitton, Koral Jackson, Megan DeMars, Holly Janes, Jill Carlson, Michele Coyote, Craig Crippen and Caroline Crippen.