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Finalists perfect songs for Roseville Idol contest

Second-annual singing competition takes place May 19
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The contestants have two weeks left to perfect their songs in time for the second-annual RTAA Idol competition.

The judges of the contest, held by the nonprofit Roseville Theatre Arts Academy, seek to identify the best local singer. Following auditions April 22, they've narrowed down their search to 12 finalists. The Press Tribune is profiling three finalists each week until the big day.

Name: Sarah Griffith

Age: 24

Residence: Elk Grove. I lived in Roseville up until this past October.

Where do you work? I'm a preschool master teacher for Franklin Child Development Center in Elk Grove.

Did you participate in last year's Idol competition? No.

What song did you sing for your audition? I sang "One Night Only" from "Dreamgirls," as performed by Jennifer Hudson.

Tell me about your singing/performance background? I was raised in a very musical family and grew up singing in church and family functions. Being active in the choir and musical theater program at Roseville High School provided me with the opportunity to get a music scholarship to go to college where I received my bachelor's degree in education.

Music is truly my passion and has provided me with so many opportunities for growth and immeasurable happiness.

What are some of your hobbies? Writing and performing music, volunteering in church, spending time with friends and family, reading, sightseeing, dancing, painting and writing children's books.

Any interesting thing people should know about you? My goal in music is to work in the ministry field as a missionary/traveling musician.

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Name: Leigh Leonard

Age: 20

Residence: Rocklin

Where do you go to school? I go to Sierra College and plan to major in psychology.

Did you participate in last year's Idol competition? I did. I was in the finals and played guitar for the first time on stage. I pretty much learned guitar for the competition. I sang "Me and Bobby McGee," by Janis Joplin. I love the older stuff - soul, rock, jazz blues.

What song did you sing for your audition? "Don't Know Why" by Nora Jones.

Tell me about your singing/performance background? I started playing piano when I was 3 or 4. I always sang just for kicks and started doing musical theater my freshman year at Whitney High School. I'm an accompanist and vocal director. I started playing guitar and my job is playing the piano at The Place on Vernon Street.

What are some of your hobbies? I collect magazine clippings and make collages out of them. I watch "Law and Order SVU."

Any interesting thing people should know about you? In everything I do, I look for the answer not expected, the funny, weird thing. I (like to) make somebody laugh or give them a story to tell. I ride a unicycle. I go on late-night adventures in the woods and watch B movies.

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Name: Marlise Dizon

Age: 14

Residence: Rocklin

Where do you go to school? I go to Horizon Charter School. I'm in eighth grade.

Did you participate in last year's Idol competition? Yes, I made it to the top five and it was really fun because I got to meet all these new people I didn't know.

What song did you sing for your audition? "When I Look at You," by Miley Cyrus.

Tell me about your singing/performance background? I grew up in a musical family, so we were always performing at family parties. My dad always sang with me and then I started theater when I was 9 and my first play was "Annie" with Rocklin Youth Theatre. I've been in tons of musicals ever since then. I really liked (the role of) Little Red Riding Hood from "Into the Woods" and Jasmine from "Aladdin."

What are some of your hobbies? I used to play piano, but I think every kid has. I play ukulele. I love to listen to music - the radio and my iPod are my best friends.

Any interesting thing people should know about you? My parents came up with (my name) because my dad's name is Mark and my mom's name is Lisa and they just combined the names. Oh, and (I was) born on New Year's Eve.

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Roseville Theatre Arts Academy presents RTAA Idol

What: Singing competition and fundraiser

When: Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and show time is 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19

Where: Roseville Theatre, 241 Vernon St.

Cost: $25 adults, $10 children and students

Info: Call (916) 772-2777 or visit www.rosevilletheatreartsacademy.com