Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College
                                                                    Illuminate your senses.

Media contacts: Gary Penington, 970.247.7117,; Indiana Reed,, 970.382.9734, or Mary Floroplus,,

MC is for “Mistress” of Ceremonies
       DURANGO, Colo. – Performing artists Kriss Larsen and Sophie Hoyt Parrott have
stepped up to replace Tim Sullivan as the new “Mistresses” of Ceremonies for “Spotlight to
Stardom,” the Four Corners Talent Search and signature fundraiser for the Community Concert
Hall at Fort Lewis College, Sat., May 19, 2007, 7 p.m.
       Popular Durango singer/songwriter Tim Sullivan has suffered a construction-related
accident and is unable to appear on stage, though hope is that he will be well enough by
showtime to participate as a judge for the competition.
       “Tim has had a tough year,” said Gary Penington, Concert Hall managing director. “He
was a very big part of the last Spotlight to Stardom and is a member of our Concert Hall family.
We send him all our good wishes and prayers for a rapid recovery.”
       This year themed “Dream Up A Way,” Spotlight to Stardom will showcase 17 talented
local acts – ranging from vocalists and musicians to novelty acts – in the professionally-produced
variety show. Additionally, Spotlight will feature past competition winners „Ilima Umbhau and
Dave Mensch and Formula 151.
       “Interestingly enough, I was watching American Idol last night and our vocalists in
Spotlight to Stardom are vastly better than the American Idol finalists,” said Indiana Reed, the
show‟s producer. “Spotlight is modeled after these professionally-produced television shows –
except we‟re all local. It‟s a great night of entertainment.”
       As mistresses of ceremony, Larsen and Parrott bring decades of diverse experience to the
Spotlight show.

         A native of England, Sophie Hoyt Parrott has been performing professionally since age 4.
Graduating with honors from West Kent College with a BTEC National Diploma in Performing
Arts, she was then accepted at the Sir Paul McCartney and HRH Queen Elizabeth II, world
renowned Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. She majored in acting, though a significant
portion of her degree included directing, dance, voice, singing, design and management. In
addition to her degree, she received a Liverpool Institute Actors Recognition award.
         Pining for sunshine, Parrott moved to Hollywood where, after observing how actors are
treated, she became a casting director and assistant producer for companies including National
Geographic, Discovery, Fox and MTV. Now a resident of Durango, she has shifted her focus to
local production efforts. She founded her company, Acting Professional, in March 2007, through
which she teaches show “business” as well as provides one-on-one acting coaching to artists who
share her passion for the stage and camera.
         Kriss Larsen received a bachelor‟s degree in vocal performance from the New England
Conservatory of Music in Boston and a master‟s degree in voice from the University of
Maryland. An active performer in dinner theater, opera, musical reviews and a song and dance
duo, Larsen continues her active singing career that has stretched from Boston and Cape Cod to
Washington, D.C., New York City, and the Durango area.
         After having taught voice and piano to children and adults for 20 years, she developed a
program for adult novice singers called “Singers Anonymous.” Currently, Larsen is the Music
Director and Conductor of the Mancos Valley Chorus and serves in the same capacity for the
Women's Prerogative (a group of female barbershop singers). She also performs to benefit local
arts organizations. Larsen is also Program Assistant in the Student Affairs Office of Fort Lewis
         “Spotlight to Stardom is the only fundraiser put on by the Community Concert Hall,” said
Penington. “So please, come out, bring lots of friends and support your Community Concert
         The Concert Hall also thanks its Spotlight sponsors, Alpine Bank, Steamworks Brewing
Co., Four Corners Broadcasting, Eagle Sound, Upper Eastside Coffee, Nature‟s Oasis, Morehart
Chevrolet, La Plata Electric Association and Basin Printing & Imaging.
         Tickets for Spotlight to Stardom are $25 per person ($10 for children 12 and under), and
available on the web at or by calling 970.247.7657. Or visit the
Ticketing Services Office at 7th and Main Ave. in Historic Downtown Durango. Seating for the

event is “General Admission.” Doors to the Concert Hall and concessions, serving beer, wine
and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, open at 6 p.m.

                             SPOTLIGHT TO STARDOM 2007 CONTESTANTS

Adult Division:
Annie Brooks
Sponsored by CJ’s Diner
        Annie Brooks grew up in a musical and art filled home where harmonicas and crayons
took the place of Barbie. She traveled the world with her musician parents and began playing
guitar at the age of 5 – entirely by ear. By 16 she was writing her own songs on guitar and piano.
Though she has continued to write and play, marriage and being part of a missionary team that
builds homes and clinics in Guatemala, Mexico and Romania has been her recent focus. Her
dream, however, is to make a living off her music. She writes encouraging, positive and
inspirational songs. Her Spotlight number, “Both Sides of Good Night,” keeps with that

Casey Marie
        Fort Lewis College student Casey Marie DePue is an education major, but her dream is to
be a professional singer. Currently a resident of Dolores, Casey has been singing since she could
speak, and joined a singing group, Sunshine Generation Kids, at age four. She began performing
solo when she was eight, and now at 20 continues to further her art. She shines at Spotlight with
Faith Hill‟s song, “Like We Never Loved at All.”

Durango A Cappella
        A mixed vocal quartet, Durango A Cappella brings the power of voices in harmony to the
stage. Durango A Cappella‟s members have varied musical experiences, though the
“barbershop” style is certainly a passion. All are currently members of the Durango men‟s and
women‟s barbershop choruses. For their “day” jobs, Darrell DeFratus, lead, works for La Plata
County; Ed Simons is employed by the Excel Charter School and Durango & Silverton Narrow
Gauge Railroad; and Jennifer and Terry Galloway are retired, though Terry served with the
Bureau of Land Management. One can “feel the love” at Spotlight with Durango A Cappella‟s
rendition of this “Lyon King” favorite.

Jonas Gruskin
Sponsored by Photogenesis Photography
A self taught pianist, Jonas Gruskin has carved out a piano pounding, foot-stomping style that
elicits images of foggy, ethereal early mornings, or a noisy, dimly-lit bar vibrating with up-beat
boogie-woogie. Jonas takes over a keyboard with ease, coaxing an amazing range of emotion and
unique transitions from chord to chord, key to key, with his improvisational style. Music is a
great release for Jonas as he juggles raising two boys and operating Photogenesis Photography.
He dreams of some day assembling a group of percussionists to back him on a wild, rhythmic,
musical adventure, and recording a CD.

Lydiah Faith & Keturah Sophiah
       Lydiah Faith and Keturah Sophiah are a sister duo from Pagosa Springs who have been
writing and composing since they were big enough to reach the keys of a piano or strum a guitar.

With potential to become “music standards,” their songs are heartfelt, reflecting a love of what
they do and who they are, and the desire to reach others with a positive message. Lyrics are
poetic and drawn from a myriad of personal experiences, as is seen in their original Spotlight
song, “Blue Roses.”

       For the first time, Spotlight welcomes a “heavy metal” band to the stage. Made up of
long-time friends from Cortez, the band Psyality includes Ben and Tom Burris on vocals,
Brendan Sheldon and Rico Sanchez on guitar, Damon Burris on bass and percussionist Phillip
Cervetto. Psyality performs an original piece, “Live and Live Out the Dream.”

Yvonne Meek
        A singer since early childhood, Yvonne Meek is now finding her own voice and enjoying
the journey of songwriting. Based in Montrose, Yvonne was born and raised in Los Angeles
where she was exposed to a dynamic spectrum of musical styles. She is classically trained, but
has stepped out into the world of pop/rock and Contemporary Christian music. When relocating
to Colorado in 1993 she taught herself piano, eventually becoming a part of the David Starr Band
of Cedaredge, singing covers from bands such as The Eagles and Poco. For Spotlight she
performs her original song, “Fallen.”

Erin Stephens
        Since learning to juggle at age 11, Erin Stephens has pursued a path to professional
stardom in the juggling arena. She lives the life of a competitive athlete and is currently training
for the 2007 World Championships in juggling. Her passion and dedication to the sport inspires
others to overcome their fears, take control of their lives and make their dreams a reality.
“Awaken” is a juggling routine in which Erin combines her champion juggling skills with her
unique performance style to create an act that is both technically impressive and visually

“Subject to Change”
Sponsored by Mutu’s Italian Kitchen
        Subject to Change is a student-led a capella group featuring Leah Nikula and Lynzee
Newton of Fort Lewis College, and Molly May, John Christensen, Landon Newton, Austin
Hohnke and Erik Andersson of Durango High School. Formed in August 2006, the members
were brought together through their passion for music, and they now perform regularly
throughout the region. Their amazing skill and discipline shines as they offer “Africa,” a song by
Toto, to the Spotlight to Stardom audience.

“The Living Daylights”
Sponsored by Jim Gillaspy & Katzin Music
       Cyle Talley is “The Living Daylights,” and he fully admits he‟s a singer/songwriter just
as so many others pursuing a professional career in music. A Durango native who chased the
dream in the big city as the drummer/lead vocalist for the indie-rock band “Chase,” Cyle
returned to Durango and the core of what makes him special. Self-described, Cyle offers love
and purpose encased in a voice and a sound that is transcendent, if only because of its blissful
normality. His original song, “Miles,” intends to excite the listener about the simple things in

Jessieca Watters
        Durango native Jessieca Watters compares music to the air that she breathes. She has
been singing since early childhood, and writing original music and lyrics since age 11. Her
dream is to share her talent with the world, and she looks to Spotlight to Stardom for a first
opportunity. Her first CD, which she is recording out of her home, will certainly include her
original Spotlight song, “Every Single Day.”

Youth Division:
“The Clickity Chicks”
Sponsored by Action Mortgage
         The Clickity Chicks are Claire Young and Tori Duhaime, of Durango. Both Claire and
Tori have reportedly been dancing from the moment they could stand, and continue to explore
and enhance their skills in a variety of dance disciplines. Among many other accolades and
activities, Claire was recently selected to join the Colorado chapter of the St. Louis Hoofers
Club; and Tori currently dances with the Durango Ballet Ensemble and is part of the Rocky
Mountain Rockettes competition dance team. The Clickity Chicks are performing a self-
choreographed tap number to “Moses Supposes” from the musical “Singin‟ in the Rain.”

Sierra Nicole Heller
        Sierra Heller is a 10-year-old, fourth grade student at Sunnyside Elementary School who
has been dancing since she was three years old, or as her mother attests, before she could walk.
Her song, “The Best That I Can Be,” is the theme song of the American Girl dolls, which she
collects. As she explained, the song is very meaningful to her as her family has endured some
significant challenges in recent years. Through it all, she has continued to try to be the best that
she can be.

“Hounds of Purg”
Sponsored by Durango Mountain Resort
        The Hounds of Purg, featuring middle school honor students Remy Russell, lead guitar;
Jayson Else, bass; Drew Dugan, drums; and Alden Derck, keyboards, is a rock „n‟ roll band that
plays both original music and covers live in and around Durango. The band was a finalist in the
last “Spotlight to Stardom,” and work on a CD of original music has begun. For Spotlight, The
Hounds perform their original song, “Some Other Guy.”

Angela Ott
Sponsored by Ott’s Mill
        A 13-year-old from Mancos, Angela Ott is a self-taught interpretive dance artist. She
enjoys bringing music to life through motion in an expressive and forceful way, and finding that
connection to the music both for herself and her audience. Unique to Angela‟s dance number is
the use of what she refers to as the “dancing sticks,” which help extend her flow of motion and
accentuate the energy behind her dance.

Dallas Padoven
Sponsored by Heather & David Padoven
       Dallas Padoven credits his passion for singing to Mrs. Lingoni, his kindergarten music
teacher who invited him to perform a solo during the Christmas concert at Riverview
Elementary. Now a 14-year-old eighth grade student at Miller Middle School, Dallas is an active

member of the youth performing arts community. Among his many credits is the DHS
production of “Les Miserables” and Durango Arts Center shows “Suessical the Musical” and
“Pickle Chiffon Pie,” among many others. He has also been a featured soloist with the San Juan
Symphony. His Spotlight song, “Upside Down” was written by Jack Johnson.

Matt the Magician
        Matt the Magician is Matt Simonsen, a 12-year-old sixth grade student at Escalante
Middle School. Matt has been performing his “magic” in and around Durango for the past two
years, and “The Amazing Magic Bunny” is the latest showcase of his talent. A natural on stage,
Matt has been appearing in plays and musicals since the age of four. Most recently, he performed
in the Fort Lewis College production of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

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