The following information was submitted by John Juhasz, organizer of the Uvalde Idol series.
The 10th-annual Uvalde Idol singing competition will be held at the Uvalde Grand Opera House at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available at the opera house box office for $10.
The competition will feature contestants from the Uvalde area, to include Makai Ortiz, Robert Benavidez, Arin Joshi, Jessica McLerran, Dylan Ybarra and Madeline Moreno in the 11-and-younger age group; Michaela O’Neill, Peja Ortiz, Whitney Whipkey, Cassidy Fox and Lauren Hynes in the 12-14 age group; and Kanan Kaneshiro, Robert Flores, Joshua Cordova, Domenic Barrera and Claire Dean in the 15-and-older age group.
Jocelyn Rendon, Aaliyah Blanco, Kassandra Talley and Lorena Auguste were selected as alternates. The event is a fundraiser for the Knippa class of 2019.
The competition will also feature Uvalde-based international recording artist and actress Camille Sanders Jefcoat as a guest artist. She will perform and speak about her professional experiences.
This year’s finalists were chosen from a field of more than 40 who auditioned. The competition will run like the hit singing competition television show “American Idol.” Competitors auditioned for a spot in the show first, then those who made it past auditions will be finalists in the competition. They will be critiqued by a panel of judges in front of a live audience.
Knippa Independent School District teacher and event organizer John Juhasz said, “I have produced the event for 10 years and this is the best young talent ever. It will be a close competition. There are a lot of good singers and it should be interesting to see what the judges have to say. What was surprising was the great young talent.”
Domenic Barrera is 16 and from Knippa School. This will be her first singing event. She is involved in community service and wants to be a cosmetologist after high school.
Robert Benavidez is 8 and from Knippa School. He sings in church choir, is a member of student council and UIL and wants to be a lawyer someday.
Joshua Cordova is 15 and from Uvalde. He is involved in mariachi and a pop band. He would like to be a hospice nurse someday.
Claire Dean is from Knippa School. She is involved with Youth Players on the Plaza, better known as YouPOP, and sings with the First Baptist Church Choir. She would like to work in the medical field someday.
Cassidy Fox is 13 and from Brackettville. She sings in varsity choir and takes singing lessons. She wants to go to Yale and become a musical therapist.
Robert Flores is 31 and is from Uvalde. He works for the 38th Judicial District and sings in church. He spends his spare time learning about his faith.
Lauren Hynes 12, lives in Uvalde and has sung in choir. She wants to be either an artist or chef someday.
Arin Joshi is 8 and lives in Uvalde. He has sung in Studio 3 concerts and wants to attend medical school someday.
Kanan Kaneshiro is 17 and a foreign exchange student from Tokyo, Japan. She lives in Uvalde and has sung in church and school bands. She wants to be a professional singer.
Jessica McLerran is 11 and lives in Uvalde. She has sung in church and is involved with YouPOP. Her aim is to attend Texas A&M veterinary school.
Madeline Moreno is 8 and lives in Sabinal. She is originally from Colorado Springs and wants to be in banking someday.
Michaela O’Neill is 14 and from Sabinal. She sings with Studio 3 and is part of a band. She plays guitar and wants to be a professional musician.
Makai Ortiz is 11 and lives in Uvalde. He is in the First Baptist Church choir and has sung in summer musical theatre. He wants to be a doctor someday.
Peja Ortiz is 14 and Makai’s older sister. She is also in the FBC choir and summer musicals. She wants to be an engineer or math professor after graduating.
Whitney Whipkey is 12 and from La Pryor. She sings in church choir and school productions. She would like to be a rancher someday.
Dylan Ybarra is 10 and from Uvalde. He does not have experience performing but loves to sing. He plays basketball and wants to be a police officer someday.
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