Saturday, January 26, 2013

2013 Dixie's Got Talent Stars

It was an exciting night as the six finalists were called out of the audience one by one to perform on Thursday night. There was a mix of suspense and anticipation as the evening wore on. The six finalists were Jesse Barclough, Avonlea Dalley, Jeffrey Elggren, Cameron Hansen, Inception, and Payton Kemp.

They all did a great job and while the audience waited for the ballots to be tallied, we were entertained by our 2013 Battle of the Band winner Matt McDermott.  He was followed by performances from the 2012 winners, Lauren Cain, Sabrina Parry and Emma Nelson.  Then the audience waited with baited breath as the winners were announced........And the winners are.... 3rd place - Cameron Hansen, 2nd place - Jesse Barclough, and the 2013 Dixie's Got Talent star is Payton Kemp!

Congratulations to all who tried out and performed. Continue to develop those wonderful talents and maybe next year you will the Star of Dixie's Got Talent!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Finals are here!

This year's Dixie's Got Talent finalists will be performing at the Cox Auditorium on January 23rd and 24th at 7:30 p.m. Come and vote for your favorite! The audience vote counts for 50% of the score. All finalists will perform the first night and through a panel of judges and the audience vote those moving to the final round will be selected. The second night the top finalists will perform and a winner will be selected!  Come cast your vote!

Tickets are $5.00 for Dixie State College students and children 12 and under. All other tickets are $10.00 in advance and $12.00 at the door. Tickets may be purchased from any finalist or at the Dixie State College Box Office 435-652-7800 or online at

Meet The Finalists!

Amanda Young
Amanda Young, daughter of Darren and Deborah Young, is a fun-loving, laid back kind of girl. Born in Provo, UT, and raised in Saint George UT. She taught herself to play the guitar at the age of 13. She is so excited to be a part of Dixie's Got Talent! Hoping to get her music out there, she is also auditioning for NBC's The Voice in February. After her father recently passed, she has decided to really get a start on her music career. She is so glad he'll be watching her every step of the way!

                                                               Amy Camp Leany
Amy Camp Leany.   Amy was a typical 6 year old girl in the 1970’s, where she sang into her hairbrush, copying artists that she loved such as Karen Carpenter and Barbara Streisand.  But music has always been an extraordinary passion and friend in her life.  When her closest friends describe her strengths and abilities, they all attach the description of SINGER to her name Wonderful opportunities and educational experiences have come to develop that talent that she loves to share.  She has sung in the bushes of Australia, the Hawaiian shores, a friend’s home in Canada, along the curvy roads of England, in the Swiss Alps, at the base of an ancient fortress of France and floating on a ship in the Caribbean Amy has tried to use her voice for good purposes and feels a mandate to use the gift of her voice to uplift the spirits of others.  She is enthusiastic about continuing to learn more about music and using her talents for the rest of her life.

Avonlea Dalley
 Avonlea Dalley    Avonlea is a senior at Dixie High School, who loves to sing and act and dance.  Her experiences began when she was 3 years old and enjoyed singing in front of audiences.    Some of her experience has come from playing the roles of Christine in “Phantom of the Opera”, Cosette in “Les Miserable s”,  Kitty in “The Drowsy Chaperon"  and Belle in “Beauty and the Beast”, all at Dixie High School. After graduating from high school, she plans on going to college to get her degree in Choral Music Education.  Her plans also include serving a mission in the near future. Avonlea is very grateful for her supportive family and friends, but always remembers to give a “Big Shout Out” to her father, David, who has been her lifelong vocal coach.

Cameron Hansen 

Cameron Hansen     Cameron is an exceptionally, talented violinist.  When he was only 2 years old, he learned to whistle and the grownups in the store would look at me as though I was something special.  One day, when he was barely able to talk,  he heard a violinist play in church and I said “Mommy, I want to play that instrument”.  Later on, his uncle found a violin in his attic and thought it would be just what his mother would love to have, but it was too big.  SO, the violin was traded in for a really small violin It was just right and Cameron took lessons from that same lady who had played in church. He then went to UNLV and studied under Wei Wei Le, and had the honor to be chosen out of all that freshman class to play for the famous violinist, Midori.   He has recently returned from serving a mission where he took his violin and supplemented his message by playing extensively, to the people’s enjoyment.

Daniel Roberts Group
 Aaron Meadows and Todd Purcell

Aaron is the lead singer and has been performing professionally since the age of 13.  He is a member of the professional dance company, Odyssey, which is well known for their Halloween spectacular, Thriller, which is performed at Tuacahn amphitheater.   Along with Todd, Aaron was in the band “Kennedy” based in St George and he was also the singer, lyric writer for the pop/rock band, a “Coastline Ending” based out of Hartfordl Connecticut.    This band toured nationally with their debut album “In The Name  of Progression”, produced and recorded by Chris Badami. Aaron is currently a senior at Dixie State college.

Todd was born and spent the first few years of his life in the countryside of southern Japan, where he developed a sincere love for white rice.  He is currently finishing his undergraduate degree in Business Administration.  Todd received a guitar from his parents at 16 and has been playing for 11 years now.  He has other hobbies, such as swimming and eating cookies that his wife bakes, and quilting.  A male quilter??It is true.  He just finished his first quilt and it recently debuted at the largest quilting convention in the United States, at Houston, Texas Living the music dream for Todd would include being the old man, sitting on the back porch in his rocking chair and serenading his grandchildren.

Dynamic Duos
 Brynlee Mclaren Wright and Blake Hofheins

Dynamic Duos.  Brynlee Mclaren Wright   Brynlee was born and raised in sunny St George.  She is a 6th grade student at Lava Ridge Intermediate School where she is involved many school activities and gets excellent grades.  Singing, dance, soccer and dodge ball…this girl has a bubbly personality and loves to try new things.  Having lots of friends and wearing pink are two of her favorite things.  Brynlee has been singing her whole lifetime.  Performing in her elementary school choir, called “Sunset Express”, where she began singing solos. Now she has paired her singing talent with her friend, Blake Hofheins at the piano for a Dynamic Duo.  As eleven year olds, they have grown a lot while learning new songs and practicing together for Dixie’s Got Talent.

No bio information submitted

Jeff Elggren 

Jeff Elggren.   Jeff is another native of St George and he is currently an 8th grader and Pine View Middle School Jeff has always loved dance and drama.  He has played several roles at FRIS, including the cat in “Seussical” and Lumiere in “Beauty and the Beast”.  His latest adventure has been to play Kurt von Trapp at Pine View High School’s production of “Sound of Music” and his mom says he looks amazing in lederhosen.  He has been dancing since he could walk, but has participated on a competitive hip-hop team with 2ONEPRODUCTIONZ for the past 2 years.  His mentor has been Scott Watts who is his dance hero.  He has been called a “natural” and can learn any routine from watching other dancers or even off videos on You Tube.  His initial interest in hip-hop came when his 5th grade teacher taught him to “moon walk”.  Thanks to Miss Coombs, he hopes to continue dancing and acting for a lifetime.

Jesse Barraclough

Jesse Barraclough   Jesse was born  in St George, in January 1998.  Living in Hurricane now, he is a freshman at Hurricane High. He has been playing piano for 4-1/2 years and loves to play and create music.  When he was in 4th grade, his father, D. J. Barraclough, worked as an instrument repairman at a music store.  One day, Jesse found a player piano in the shop which played classical music and an occasional Billy Joel song.  He instantly was hooked on the piano and decided to learn every piece of music that inspired him anywhere from Yanni to Jon Schmidt or Beethoven and began to mix all of these composers’ styles into his own style.  Jesse hopes to share his music around the world some day and perform in various places.  His friends describe him as an “insane” musician and support him very well.  Today he now plays for parties and will soon be offering his talents for entertainment at weddings.

Jillian Durham

Jillian Durham has loved to sing as long as she can remember.  At the age of ten, her mother encouraged her to audition for the Sound of Music. To her surprise, she was cast as Brigitta. From that day forward she has been totally in love with Theatre.  She has since been in many musicals.  Some of her favorite roles include, Eponine in Les Miserables, Belle in Beauty and the Beast and Gertrude in Suessical the Musical.  She is now a senior at Dixie State College where she is finishing up a degree in Theatre.   She is the mother of two beautiful children.  And she has the best husband ever!  She is grateful for this opportunity to perform in Dixie’s Got Talent! 

John Stubbs

John Stubbs is native to St. George. He is 29 years old, and has been married for 5 years. He and his wife have a two-year-old son, and a baby on the way. John received a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from BYU, and a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from the U of U. He is a Speech Language Pathologist for the Washington County School District.
John started playing guitar when he was 17 years old. His style is influenced by Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz, and John Mayer. Performing had been one of John’s greatest fears, until he started playing the guitar. Playing the guitar and singing has helped change his life and helps him reach out to others.

Jolene Taylor

Jolene has loved to sing years, and although homesick for California in the first place, she now feels she could never leave Southern Utah She is a senior at the University of Phoenix, majoring in Human Services and Management.  Jolene is married and has 2 spunky dogs that keep them entertained.  When she was 4 years old, she would spend hours on the living room floor trying to write her own songs while listening to Donna Summer and Debbie Boone.  Freshman year in high school was her first stage solo performance, which she enjoyed because she had background dancers.  In college, she joined a band called “ritmo de la Noche” and performed Latin music, blues and old jazz standards.  She began going to church in 1994 with her grandmother and fell in love with gospel music.  She traveled all over California with this and inspired others to do the same.  Jolene loves songs that tell a story and hopes to share her favorite ones as a contestant of Dixie’s Got Talent 2013.

Liv McCune

Liv McCune    Liv landed in St George just seven years ago, after short stays in Salt Lake and Iowa Since getting her first taste of public performance at age 4, Liv started singing and never really stopped.  Feeling right at home in front of an audience, she performs as a singer, dancer and even a deceptively quick striker on the soccer field.  Her seemingly boundless energy is fueled by a diet that is supplemented by candy bars, eaten on the sly.  Her greatest ambition for her present life is to cajole her father into letting her have as many animals, stuffed or otherwise, as possible.  She also dreams of inspiring others through music.  Liv is eleven years old and attends Fossil Ridge Intermediate School.

Matthew Sean McDermott

Matthew Sean McDermott is a California born and St. George raised musician who could be considered a music prodigy. He started piano at age 8, picked up a guitar and began teaching himself at age 11 and has been writing his own music ever since. Inspired by his father's love of music and performing, Matthew began small and in time became known throughout the community for his songwriting. Matthew attended Pine View High School and was an active member in multiple choirs. He currently participates in Mr. Lister's community choir, Lieto. Now, a newlywed to his gorgeous wife, Nataly, he plans to continue schooling here at DSC and hopes to eventually attend the renowned Berklee College of Music to apply his passion to a career while providing for his family.


This band includes 6 members.  Jeremy Garcia, Alexa Thompson, Miles Manwaring, Ean a. Brandon, Stefan D. Taylor, and Holden Thatcher.
Stefan was born in Salt Lake but lived most of his life in St George.  He has been an avid tennis player since he was 11, varsity lettered for 4 years and was awarded a tennis scholarship at SVU He had a mission to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is now a sophomore at Dixie as well as assistant tennis pro at the Bloomington Country Club.  Besides his love of tennis, he enjoys writing, playing Ike and road tripping.  He is known as the dad of this family band, and answers to the name of Dad from the group members.

Alexa is a junior at Dixie, majoring in vocal performance. She comes from American Fork and met this group of boys and decided that they should form a family band and thought it would be fun to tour the countryside together. Each member of this band shares a love for music and Taco Bell.

Miles likes to say he was born and raised on the Dixie Downs playground, where he spent most of his days; chilling, maxing and relaxing and shooting some BBall out behind the school. At 11, he picked up a trumpet and began his musical career  Miles is currently a sophomore at Dixie where he is studying graphic design for a future career.

Ean Taylor was born in Murray , Utah and graduated from high school with his associates degree.  He came to SUU for 2 semesters, served a mission in the Southern States, returning to become a senior with May graduation in organizational communication.  He works as the Vice President of social media for the alumni association at Dixie He lives to play music and have adventures in the red rock canyons of Southern Utah.

Holden Thatcher, the drummer….


Pangea Band has five members;  Isaac Gish, Jeff Ostler, Kyle Lyman, Thomas Valdez, Tyson Christensen 

Isaac is a Santa Clara native who was introduced to guitar by his father , took lessons from Lisle Crowley.and a couple of years after that began piano instruction from Ricky Valdez. After his mission he came to Dixie and Merilee Webb became his piano teacher, while he returned to Lisle for guitar lessons.  He is a guitarist in the DSC jazz band and has composed some music that they have performed. Professionally, he teaches both guitar and piano for Music Works and tutors music theory students for the college. He will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in music in one more year.

Jeff was taught to play the piano by his mother, who then encouraged him to pick up the French horn and guitar also. During high school, he created his own music.  In middle school, he sort of taught Isaac to play guitar but he feels now, that Isaac is a far better player on the guitar than he is,  so he plays bass.      He is thrilled to belong to such a talented and dedicated group and appreciates so much the support he receives from his wife, Kristen, and says there would be no music without her. 

Kyle is also a St George native and started playing guitar in high school and was inspired by the bands “Radiohead” and “The Smiths”.  Kyle has earned an associate degree from DSC and continues his study of guitar with Lisle Crowley, who is the guitar instructor for Dixie 

Thomas Valadez.  Calls Ivins, Utah his home and grew musically along with his brother, Ricky.  While in school at SCHS, Thom played guitar in Mr. Kerr’s jazz band and soon after formed his own rick band with Mason Brook and Jeff Ostler.  He was recruited into   John is native to St George, is 29 years old and has been married for 5 years.well as guitar, tambourine or whatever is needed.  Thom  is multi-talented and outgoing and his talents and pursuits include writing, studying to be a personal trainer, slack-lining and gymnastics.

Tyson is an extremely talented and capable drummer, and has cultivated a unique style that goes beyond his chops.    In addition to his music, Tyson is one of the nicest guys  twin brother, Teren, for help in advancing his musical career and credits Ed Candland of Pine View High for shaping and expanding his musical perspective.

Payton Kemp

Payton Kemp was born in Orem, Utah in the year 2000.  His talent was first discovered by his Grandmother when he was singing at 2 ½ yrs old.  At 9 years old he tried out and made the part of  Young Tarzan in Tuacahn’s production of Tarzan.   Payton really enjoyed performing in front of a live audience  every single night, and was able to work with some of the best choreographers, directors, dancers, and actors in the business.  His experience at Tuacahn really pushed Payton to give 110% every night.  Payton also really enjoys sports,  especially  football and basketball, and has really learned that balance is important in life.  

Rosalyne Savala

Rosalyne Savala is a 17 year old, who currently attends Pine View High School She is a native of St George and absolutely loves it here.  She has been dancing for the past 15 years.   She joined the PIZAZZ Dance Group and has been part of their Dance Team for the past 10 years.  The advanced try-out team of this organization has counts her for a member for 7 years.   Her awards include Inspirational Dancer Of the Year for 2 years in a row while being the Co-Captain for 2 years, Student Coach for 3 years and is currently the technique coach for the PIZAZZ    Dance team.   Christy Whitaker has been her coach for the past 9 years and Rosalyne counts her as her inspiration.  In the future, Rosalyne would like to be a Dental Hygienist and eventually open a dance studio.  She also has a desire to serve a mission when she turns 19.