BY RENE DE LA CRUZ
With the energy of a rock concert, a standing room only crowd cheered as Charlie Colbert, 11, masterfully played Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man" on her electric guitar.
“When my uncle died I saw his guitar and that started it all,” said Colbert, during Apple Valley’s Most Talented Kid competition on Friday.
After being tutored by many guitar teachers and playing at Memphis’ famous Beale Street, Colbert was completely relaxed on stage at James A. Woody Community Center.
Earlier in the evening, Colbert’s younger sister, Mia, sat hidden behind her sheet music, as she played “This is Your Land” by Woodie Guthrie on the keyboard.
“It’s too bad the schools are cutting music programs,” Christine Colbert said. “My daughters excelled in their school work because of music. When they learned what a quarter-note was, fractions came easy.”
As Robert Otwell made last minute adjustments to his daughter’s ukulele, his younger daughter, Elissa, watched as an assortment of costumed performers entered the room.
“My wife, Heather, is applying makeup to my daughter’s dance team, who will be doing a number from the musical ‘Cats,’ ” Otwell said. “All of my daughters play piano, so we owe our family’s musical talent to my wife, who is an awesome mom.”
As she strummed her ukulele, Krystian Otwell said she began playing after she saw her uncle play the stringed instrument.
“I liked the way it sounded, so I started playing last year,” Krystian Otwell said. “And if I mess up, I just focus on my fingers and keep playing.”
As volunteers from the recreation department’s Teen Zone program served up snacks and root beer floats, Supervisor Joseph Ramos worked double-time as he greeted guests, added extra chairs and fixed sound problems.
Much of the audience sat in amazement, as Concena Jones, 10, belted out “Grazing in the Grass” with her trumpet, as she kept pace with the instrumental backing.
Dressed in fur and feline ears, Jamie Halterman, 9, was excited to perform, but her cat makeup was taking a toll on the tiny dancer.
“It took about 30 minutes to get into makeup, and it smells like sand and rotten eggs,” Halterman said. “We’re the last ones to perform, so I hope my makeup holds.”
Dorothy Mays, who has attended the event since 2008, said she is amazed at the number of talented kids in the High Desert.
“I’m blown away every year,” said Mays, as she readied her tablet to take photos. “I hope this event keeps growing because it’s a great way to start the Christmas season.”
Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.