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Paynesville Press - Aug. 27, 2003

Local teen performs at state fair

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Tanya Whitcomb Local teen Tanya Whitcomb, recently had the opportunity to perform on stage at the Minnesota State Fair's Teen Fair.

Whitcomb, a sophomore at PAHS this fall, earned the honor of competing in a state fair talent contest after winning her age group at a talent show held at the Stearns County Fair. The state competition was held on Tuesday, Aug. 21, the opening day for the state fair.

Competing against nine other acts in her age group including other singers, dancers, and even a magician Whitcomb said she wasn't nervous when she took the stage to sing "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton, even though there were hundreds of people in the audience. "I think the reason I wasn't nervous is because I've dreamed of doing this since I was three," she said.

Indeed, Tanya has been singing since she was old enough to talk, said her mother Brenda Whitcomb. She's a member of the PAHS choir, and she sings in church as well as anywhere else she can, said Brenda, who thought her daughter was a natural on stage.

Even though she has participated in choir competitions and performed before audiences before, Tanya had never sung in front of so many people and rarely ever had the opportunity to perform solo before.

In fact, just getting backstage at a larger venue was a new experience for her. She realized that this was going to be different when she had to be cleared by security guards before going backstage.

While she was waiting her turn, she didn't watch other performers. In fact, she spent the waiting time rehearsing quietly while her headphones drowned out the competition. When it was her turn, she was ready, she said, and she had the time of her life.

Even though Tanya didn't advance to the finals, she enjoyed the experience and learned from it. Now she's more sure than ever that she wants to continue to sing and perform. In fact she's already looking forward to competing again next year.

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