by Larry Austin
A Grand Island singer will perform in February in New York City with the best voices in America.
Maggi Chauby, a 15-year-old sophomore at Grand Island High School, was selected to perform at the landmark Carnegie Hall on Feb. 18 after she entered the Golden Voices of America International Voice Competition last spring. She is one of just 14 performers in her age group selected to perform at the event, which will highlight singers from across North America as part of the American Fine Arts Festival.
Chauby entered her audition tape in the musical theater/Disney/Broadway/jazz category with her renditions of "Think of Me" from "Phantom of the Opera" and "Summertime" by George Gershwin from "Porgy and Bess."
"I sent in a tape, and then a couple months later I was daily checking the (American Fine Arts Festival) website because I really wanted to know if I made it or not," Chauby said. "And I looked, and my name was on there, and I couldn't believe it. It's just amazing and I still can't believe it."
Seven performers in the 13-to-15 age group will perform in her category, and seven others will perform in the classical/folk/traditional category.
Chauby auditioned on the recommendation of her vocal teacher, Amy Teal of Lewiston.
"Maggi has an amazing soprano voice with a range low A to high E above high C," said Teal. "She has taken lessons for two years and studies classical music in Italian, German and French as well as English art songs and Broadway repertoire."
According to Teal, Chauby makes singing sound effortless.
"She has a voice that just floats out of her with such ease," Teal said. "It never sounds like singing is hard for her. She can float out a high note and hold it with this full, rich sound. She is a true talent and I expect her to go very far."
"Very far" would include Broadway. Chauby will leave for New York City Friday morning, Feb. 17, and perform the next day. After that, she plans to sightsee in the Big Apple, the American capital of her art.
"Not only Carnegie Hall, but New York City, it just represents all my hopes and dreams because I really want to go into musical theater," Chauby said. "So seeing that's the cultural center of musical theater, at least in America, it's really incredible that I get such an opportunity."
Chauby said she's performed in local theater for a long time, and she entered the contest to take a step forward and challenge herself. She admitted that she'll probably feel nervous before she hits the stage in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.
"But my mom told me, 'Don't worry about being nervous, just enjoy it because it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Chauby said.