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Young vocalists will sing their hearts out at inaugural Burbank Singing Star competition


Charissa Wheeler, owner of the Music Junction music school, is helping launch the first charity singing contest for children called Burbank Singing Star for kids between 4 and 12 years old. (Tim Berger / Burbank Leader)

image002 byAnthony Clark Carpio: Contact Reporter

Sept. 28th, 2016

A Burbank music school is looking to boost the self-esteem of 20 children all while helping two local nonprofits.

The Music Junction, in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Burbank, is hosting its inaugural Burbank Singing Star competition at the Castaway restaurant at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Twenty children between the ages of 4 and 12 years old will compete for their chance to win a piano keyboard, song recording and writing sessions and $100. The prizes were donated by Keyboard Concepts, the Music Junction and the Kiwanis Club.

Tickets to the event are $20 for adults and $13 for children 12 years old and younger. Part of the proceeds will go to the Kiwanis Club and the Burbank Community YMCA’s “Learn, Grow, Thrive” program, which supports children’s literacy, said Charissa Wheeler, owner of the Music Junction.

“I was thinking of projects that would align with the community and thought of the singing competition,” she said. “The age group that we work with at [the Music Junction] are mostly elementary-age kids. So we wanted to create this opportunity for elementary-age kids and younger preteens, where normally in a singing competition they’re being outperformed or pushed out by teenagers.”

In June, the Music Junction asked those interested in the competition to send a short video clip of themselves singing their favorite song. Throughout the summer, Wheeler and her staff whittled down the more than 300 entrants to just 20, who will all be performing on Friday night.

The panel of judges who will be selecting the winner includes American Idol vocal coach PeggiBlu, American Idol contestant Anthony Fedorov and “Empire” actress/singer V. Bozeman.

Wheeler, who has operated the Music Junction since 2012 and has been a piano and vocal teacher for more than eight years, said having an event like the Burbank Singing Star is the perfect way of giving back to the community and a great way to help children realize their entertainment dreams.

“Kids in that age range aren’t often seen and heard, so this creates a forum for kids to show off their talents,” she said.

Anthony Clark Carpio,

Twitter: @acocarpio

Copyright © 2016, Burbank Leader



On the Town: Burbank Singing Star competition a showcase for future stars

By David Laurell

Oct. 3, 2016

Whether it be “American Idol,” “The Voice” or “America’s Got Talent,” there’s no doubting that the nation is brimming with exceptional singers.

Charissa Wheeler, who owns and operates the Music Junction, a Burbank-based training studio that offers piano and voice lessons, proved there is also a lot of local talent as she staged the inaugural Burbank Singing Star competition at the Castaway restaurant Friday evening.

The event, held in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Burbank in the hillside complex’s Starlight Room, presented 20 semifinalists who were selected during a summer-long process that began with more than 300 singers between the ages of 4 and 12.

The audience of close to 400, who enjoyed Wheeler’s opening rendition of Milton DeLugg and Willie Stein’s “Orange Colored Sky” backed by dancers Elyse BollesenKatelyn BrightBridget Creshaw and Kaitlyn Glenn of the Burbank Dance Academy, were then welcomed by Kiwanis Club of Burbank President Cynthia Faust and comedian Jaime Monroy, who co-hosted the evening with Wheeler.

Judged by “American Idol” vocal coach PeggiBlu, actress and singer V. Bozeman, “American Idol” contestant Anthony Fedorov, singer, songwriter and producerNatasha Key and producer Alessandro Calemme, winners were selected in two categories: 5- to 8-year-olds and those from 9 to 12 in age.

In the younger category, the top honor went to Jordyn Curet, with Harlow Hamerplacing second. In the older group, Jhanessa Lorraine Equila was named the winner, followed by Sierra Gracelyn Brogmus and Anna Pacino tying for second andChristian Ortega-Christiansen getting the third-place nod.

Others who rounded out the field in making the impressive semifinals cut were Ava BianchiMia BrumbaughCaleb PerezJosie LafontantVeronica BrossettPas Da Silva BruniDelilah Alice StantonLuke SteelMalea Emma Tanudjaja,RaquelKetelynBrogmusKayleigh Lund, Lily Lee and Bella Stine.

“This competition was everything I wanted it to be — everything I hoped it would be,” said a beaming Wheeler after Friday’s event. “We learned a lot in building the framework for this to become an annual event — what we want to capture and the things we may want to change as we move forward.”

Along with Friday’s competition winners, the Burbank Family YMCA’s Learn, Grow, Thrive program — which offers summer reading and enrichment for children from low income environments — also proved to be a winner as a recipient of a portion of the proceeds raised by the evening’s ticket sales.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at or (818) 563-1007.

Copyright © 2016, Burbank Leader