Hickory – First, second and third place finishers in the 2017 Rotarian Idol will all perform together again in the upcoming Rotarian Idol All Stars May 17. That includes Hickory’s own American Idol contestant Johnny White.
Johnny White has been singing since he was five years old. He says his biggest musical influence comes from Fantasia Barrino. Two years ago, White took home first place in Rotarian Idol. A year ago, White was on network television as a contestant in American Idol. “That was one of the best experiences of my life,” says the singer. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity. If I had the chance, I’d do it all over again,” he adds.
When asked why he is competing in Rotarian Idol All Stars this year, White said “because I love being on stage sharing my gift with other people. I have a lot of people who will support me and are pushing me to do this”. Further, White likes Rotarian Idol because it “gives other local artists a chance to showcase their talent”.
White loves writing music and watching reality shows on television when he has the chance.
What did White do with the $2500 cash prize he won? He got his first car.
Second place and Audience Favorite in 2017 went to Caroline Collins. The Hickory native has been singing “since I was old enough to mimic my older sister Cassidy singing” says Collins. In addition to her sister, her biggest musical influences come from Josh Groban, Kathleen Battle, Corey Lovelace and LaToya Lain. She chose to compete in Idol All Stars because to her “this is the perfect opportunity to be able to continue participating in the arts in Hickory while furthering my education and career away from home”.
“While it is a competition, Rotarian Idol has an uncanny way of making me feel as though I am performing just for the enjoyment of the art, rather than for judges. It also enables me to save money for college and grad school, where I hope to continue studying the arts”, adds Collins. Indeed, Collins put her Idol prize money in her savings account “to pay for college and voice lessons and pianists” during her undergraduate years in college.
Collins is a rising sophomore at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Music Performance. She currently serves as the Executive Head of Events for Carolina Creates Music, as a Voice Teacher for Musical Empowerment, a counselor for Carolina Kick-Off, Future UNC-CH Resident Advisor and a participant in the UNC Opera program. She has won many awards including the National Association of Teachers of Signing (NATS) Regionalist for Musical Theater and Classical Music three years in a row, NATS Semi-Finalist for Musical Theater, the Blake Foundation Young Artist Award in 2016 and the Edna Barringer Young Artist Award in 2018.
“I hope to be a surgeon one day and teach at the graduate level,” offers Collins. The star loves “meeting new people in practice rooms, on the quad, in the library”, teaching her voice student each week, attending concerts, reading about updates in stem cell research and “finding bits of free time to spend with friends and family”.
Joshua Costello walked away with third place in the 2017 edition of Rotarian Idol. The California native moved to Hickory because he read “an Internet survey that said ‘Hickory is your ideal living location’”. He’s been singing for seventeen years now, influenced by artists such as Elliott Smith, Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles and Jim Croce.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to compete against the best over the past decade” comments Costello. Asked why he chose to participate in Idol All Stars, he said “I love the supportive environment, the friendships, the cause and the memorable evening”.
Costello is an Associate Pastor of Vision Baptist Church in Raleigh. He is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity degree. He is married to Emily Costello and they have three children, Ellie, who is 13, Brooke, 9 years old and Rocco, 6 years old. If he ever has any spare time, Costello like to play disc golf and write songs.
What did Costello do with the prize money he won in Rotarian Idol? He sponsored a child from Africa.
The Tenth Anniversary All Stars Rotarian Idol is set for Friday May 17 at 7:00 PM at PE Monroe Auditorium. Ten winners from the past years will compete for cash prizes. Rotarian Idol is the signature fundraiser of the Rotary Club of Hickory. It gives the community, through the Rotary Club, the ability to impact the lives of people here and across the globe. Funds raised go to support local educational programs such as the Imagination Library, college scholarships and Teacher of the Year awards, as well as humanitarian and educational projects around the world.
Photo: Johnny White, Caroline Collins and Joshua Costello will compete May 17.