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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Girls rule at 'Smyrna's Got Voice-Kids Rock!'

  • After auditioning almost 30 kids, Saturday's finale featured the talents of seven girls, all anxious to be named the best voice in town Saturday night.
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  • The boys were conspicuously absent Saturday night at the finale of "Smyrna's Got Voice-Kids Rock!" All seven contestants across two age divisions were girls, who used their time on stage to wow the attending crowd with vocal range and stage presence.
    And, wowing the crowd was important as the audience collectively held the fate of the final two winners in the palm of their hands. In exchange for a ticket stub, each spectator was given a slip of paper with detailed voting instructions: Pick three of the four girls in the first group, which included the four girls in the younger division. Pick two of the three girls in the older division.
    The younger girls included Alexandra Cseke, Sydney Wilson, Katie Loftus and Jaden McGeoch,
    McGeoch went home as the winner of her division, following a breezy performance of Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On." The judges lauded her performance as "sultry and lilting," while also saying that her effortless stage presence and sass was perfect for the song she chose.
    "I heard this song on 'The Voice' and I just loved it," said McGeoch, explaining how she chose her song. "The performers were magnificent and I really liked the song."
    The three older girls included Lauren Berry, Gracie Buskirk and Smyrna resident Chrystina Haldeman. Buskirk won her division with her "last minute choice" of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," saying that Raitt was one of her mom's favorite singers and that she hoped she made both her mom and Raitt proud of her version that night.
    Haldeman went home as the runner-up but not before tugging on the heartstrings of everyone in attendence by saying that her song choice, "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri reminded her of her parents and that she was dedicating it to them. She also impressed the judges who said that she has a "wonderful, refreshing voice" that held their attention with "notes perfectly in pitch."
    Last year's winner Jessica Reynolds also made an appearance, coming back to entertain the crowd as the last of the votes were being tabulated. Reynolds sang three songs, reminding everyone how she walked away as the 2012 winner.
    The program, which kicked off the first round of competition in February, was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Close to 30 kids auditioned and following the first round, six kids from each group advanced to round two. Those 12 hopefuls were then whittled down to the seven who competed Saturday night.
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