Cactus Shadows junior Melissa Nelson has won a scholarship from the Upscale Singers every year since the program began in 2007. She was this year’s first place winner. Nelson organized the first “Rock the District” concert held at El Pedregal to benefit the CCUSD music programs, a benefit now in its third year. She plays the ukulele, guitar and piano, and has a host of hobbies ranging from swing dancing to bracelet making to hiking and attending concerts.
Upscale Singers aid music careers of North Valley teens
STAFF REPORT~ 4/28/2012
Upscale Singers recently announced the group’s annual vocal scholarship winners. This year’s competition saw 14 junior high and high school students receive awards from $100 to $600 totaling $3,900. The moneys go directly to the vocal teachers the students choose.
The Upscale Singers also support the Arizona Music and Dance Camp, a summer program for special-needs youth.
Finally, the Upscale Singers have a grant program for the ten public junior and senior high schools in the Cave Creek/Carefree/Anthem area. Each choral teacher may apply for a grant of up to $400 to help them maintain their music programs. So far $2,800 have been awarded to teachers.
The Upscale Singers is a singing group of 30 members from North Scottsdale, Phoenix, Carefree and Cave Creek. For information on the group go to upscalesingers.com.
Listed below are the student winners.
High School Division
1st Place: Melissa Nelson
An International Baccalaureate junior at Cactus Shadows High School, Nelson has won a scholarship from the Upscale Singers every year since the program began in 2007.
As a freshman, Melissa organized the first “Rock the District” concert held at El Pedregal to benefit the CCUSD music programs, a benefit now in its third year. She plays the ukulele, guitar and piano, and has a host of hobbies ranging from swing dancing to bracelet making to hiking and attending concerts.
2nd Place: Shane Ertter
A senior at Notre Dame Preparatory, Ertter has performed in school musicals and his show choir. Ertter recently saw Les Miserables. As he says, “The passion and the emotion that filled me while watching that performance inspires me to pursue the entertainment industry with acting and/or singing as my career.” At Notre Dame Ertter participates in student government, Improv, and enjoys doing voiceovers.
3rd Place: Daphne Sietz
A sophomore at Boulder Creek High School, Sietz sings with the Honor Choir and the show choir, Bel Canto. She also sings with her church and local theater communities in Anthem, and has sung in shows with the Upscale Singers as a previous scholarship winner. At one of her recent concerts she loved singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” originally performed by Barbra Streisand, one of her’s favorite vocalists.
4th Place: Steven Langenehorst, Boulder Creek senior
5th Place: Taylor Ellsworth, Boulder Creek freshman
McKenna Blair, Boulder Creek junior
Maddie Lopez, Caepe School freshman
Junior High Division
1st Place: Sarah Nelson
Nelson is a 7th grader at Sonoran Trails Middle School. She has grown up singing, like her big sister Melissa, our senior high winner. But Nelson has a stage history of her own, starting with her first role in a production of “Annie” as a four-year-old. Nelson studies Jazz, Tap, Ballet and Hip Hop at Bender Performing Arts, and is on their All Stars Competition Team. She’s performed with many theater groups in the community -- including our own Upscale Kids.
2nd Place: Katie Pusateri
A 7th grader at Sonoran Trails, Pusateri sang a duet with her father in the Upscale Christmas concert this past December. She’s been singing since she could talk, and sings now with the Phoenix Girls’ Chorus. A favorite musical memory was singing the National Anthem at a Phoenix Mercury game. Pusateri enjoys horseback riding, and is a pro barrel racer. As for singing, she loves the country-music style!
3rd Place: Tiffany Stoddard
Stoddard is a 7th grader at Sonoran Trails, and loves singing in her school and church choirs. She also performed in a community production of “Hello Dolly.” Besides playing the piano and acting in plays, Stoddard hopes to make the “Rock the District” next fall and perform at El Pedregal.
4th Place: Abby Walker, 8th grader at Arizona School for the Arts
5th Place: Michele Skarback, 8th grader at Sonoran Trails Middle School
Riley Roads, 8th grader at Sonoran Trails
Jordan Seaver, 8th grader at Diamond Canyon Elementary