Brentwood resident Chanelle Lewis, 17, a junior from Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy, was proclaimed 2008 East County Idol for her rendition of the song "Listen."
"I'm so excited. I can't stop smiling," said Lewis, who will be trying out for American Idol next year. "I dream of one day becoming a big star," she added. "There is nothing I find more exciting than singing in front of a huge audience. It is my aim to glorify God in my life and in my music." Lewis placed second in last year's East County Idol contest, won by Neyshia Go.
Second place went to Jordan Smith, 15, from Berean Christian High School. Smith sang "Broken Vow." Third place went to Ross Bronzan from Brentwood's Heritage High School for his rendition of "Moon Dance," a la Michael Buble. And fourth place was awarded to Marina Parla for her rendition of "Popular."
The other East County Idol contestants were Michelle Macasero, Jessica Bunting, Jillian Uy, Cahse Erwin, Meaghan Furtado, Ashley Goins, Frank Sierra, Brittany Ramos, Justine Rin, Alexandra Young, Alivia Logan, Ali Travis and Kinsey McLaughlin.
"I don't know about you guys, but I think we have 17 winners here," said Antioch Music Foundation (AMF) President Walter Ruehlig. "This year's East County Idol performers are a sensational bunch. The judges - Katy Enea, Katy Lawrence-Burchett, Jack French, Bob Harrison, Betsy Osborne Kohler and Emil Geddes - had their work cut out for them.
"The foundation is bursting with pride at the accomplishments of our first East County Idol and guest performer, Neyshia Go. Aside from performing at the historic Apollo Theater in New York and singing before a 49ers game, Neyshia recently returned from Hollywood, where she was one of the top 50 finalists out of 102,000 who auditioned for the American Idol."
Ruehlig reminded the audience that proceeds from the contest will continue the foundation's commitment to fund repairs of musical instruments and raise funds "for terribly underfunded schools," and provide a showcase for teen talent, empowering them toward the arts in general and music in particular.
"I am so inspired, I will start singing in the shower again," said Ruehlig, moved by the audience's energy, cheering and banners.
On hand were East County music pillars and AMF members and directors Patty Chan, Rudy Fernandez, Malcolm Hunter, Romano Marchetti, Sue Pedersen, Clarita Perez, Cynthia Ruehlig, Manny Soliz, Linda Thompson and Sharon Vela, all of whom helped make the event happen. The program was hosted by Kim Dooley of KISQ (KISS 98.1 FM).
The AMF also thanked its sponsors - Beswick Family Fund, Federal Glover, East Bay Community Foundation, Somersville Towne Center, Give Always To Others and Co., and the El Campanil Theatre - for their generosity.