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Photo by Pat Sunderland The winners of the “We Love Music” talent competition are pictured with Willyn Webb, executive director of the Vision Charter Academy. Pictured from left to right are Taryn Wolcott, junior runner-up; Kalli Chapman, senior division winner; and Aniya Evans, junior division winner.
Photo by Pat Sunderland Isabella Hickman is accompanied by her father as she sings “Rainbow.”

Countywide talent competition celebrates the 'best of the best'

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Kalli Chapman, a senior from Vision Charter Academy, was awarded top honors at the "We Love Music" talent show competition March 22 at the Delta Performing Arts Center. Chapman sang "I Will Always Love You," a ballad written and recorded by Dolly Parton. As winner of the senior division, she will have her demo tape reviewed by Big Machine Records out of Nashville, Tenn., the producer for stars such as Reba McIntire, Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line and more.

A total of 51 students from nine different schools in Delta County auditioned for the final round of the competition. Ten were in the senior division, and six competed in the junior division. Aniya Evans, a Vision Charter Academy learner, wowed the judges with "Warrior" by Demi Lovato. Runner-up was Taryn Wolcott, an eighth grader from Cedaredge Middle School, who performed a piano solo. They were awarded cash prizes of $100 and $50, respectively.

Lella Young, age 11, sang a song she wrote for her donor family in appreciation for sharing the gift of life through their daughter's liver. David Bryant, age eight, pumped up the energy level in the auditorium when he accompanied "Eye of the Tiger" on his drum set. Cooper Kimbriel accompanied himself on guitar as he sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." Isabella Hickman, a Lincoln Elementary School student, was accompanied by her father Sean as she sang "Rainbow."

In the senior division were Delta High School students Beki Atchley, who sang "Old Rugged Cross"; Katie King, who played the saxophone; Remi Baldwin, who sang "This Town Is Killing Me" while accompanying herself on guitar; and Kateryna Ivlieva, an exchange student who sang a light-hearted tune in French. Hotchkiss High School student Autumn Luginbyhl sang "You Say," and Olivia Lindsay, a Vision Charter Academy freshman, played the violin. Cedaredge High School student Natalie Durfee performed a song from Miley Cyrus called "It's the Climb." Emma Wise accompanied herself on the piano as she sang "Tightrope" from The Greatest Showman. Zebadiah Etter, a home school student, did justice to a Zac Brown Band song called "Colder Weather."

The judges were Justin Russell Jr., Robert Wolcott, Craig Thomas, Kaylyn Bruington and Cameron Gibbs. Audience members also had a chance to weigh in by texting the number of their top choice in both the junior and senior divisions. While the accounting firm of Pete Blair and Associates tabulated the votes, the Russell String Trio took the stage to cap off the musical evening.

Willyn Webb, executive director of the Vision Charter Academy, expressed her hope that the competition will become an annual event -- a sentiment that was echoed by the highly appreciative audience that filled the Performing Arts Center nearly to capacity.

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